England have dropped Joe Denly for the second Test against the West Indies at the Old Trafford Ground in Manchester to make way for captain Joe Root who missed the opener at the Ageas Bowl owing to paternity leave. This implies that young batsman Zak Crawley will retain his place in the playing XI for the second Test.
Denly and Crawley, both from Kent, were part of the first Test, batting at No.3 and 4 respectively, which England lost by 4 wickets in Southampton. But while the 34-year-old managed scores of 18 and 29 which dropped his career average below 30 in Tests, the 22-year-old nudged ahead with his impressive 76 in the second innings.
Denly has so far in his short Test career scored six fifties in 15 matches - his best being the 94 he had scored against Australia at the Oval last summer. For Denly, while he has been praised for his prolonged innings of usually 100 balls, he has often being criticised for throwing away good starts and has failed to put up a century yet in 28 innings.
Crawley, on the other hand, has scored two half-centuries in five Tests, averaging 31.25 with his Southampton knock which is now his career-best score, bettering his knock of 66 in Johannesburg earlier this year.
Root's return also implies that Ben Stokes will resume his vice-captaincy role. kThe latter had become England's 81st captain in Southampton and the first all-rounder to lead the side since Andrew Flintoff.
England will now be eyeing a comeback in the series after Windies took a 1-0 lead in the contest. A defeat would imply that Jason Holder's men will retain the Wisden Trophy.