Gooch confident on Root

Joe Root
Joe Root
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England are confident they will be well-served in the first Ashes Test, whether it is Joe Root - as seems almost certain - or Nick Compton who partners Alastair Cook at the top of the order.

Root on Sunday made 41 in his audition as Compton’s likely replacement for the remainder of this summer, having been preferred to the Somerset batsman for England’s warm-up match against Essex.

Compton responded to being dropped for the four-day fixture at Chelmsford by making more than 100 runs in his county’s defeat by Australia at Taunton - and will have another chance, as a guest for Worcestershire against the tourists, before England name their squad for Nottingham.

Graham Gooch had plenty of food for thought but Root’s readiness to face Australia, opening or in the middle order where he has begun his international career so well, is not troubling England’s Test batting coach significantly.

“Joe Root is starting off on his journey. He’s a natural opener,” Gooch said of a player who has made his name at county level going in first. “I think what the selectors have done here is ... Nick Compton has done well for England in recent times and I think they want to look at Joe and see what he does in this team to give themselves an option.

“Personally, I don’t think I see any reason why Joe Root won’t make a success whether he bats in the middle order or at the top.”

Gooch has faith in Compton, too, to deliver should the selectors have a rethink.

“Joe Root is a consummate player already,” he said. “He has some things to work out, like every player, and he’s got to improve. But I don’t see any reason why he won’t be a success if he’s given that responsibility at Trent Bridge.

“Whether the selectors go for Compton or decide to put Joe up to the top of the order, I don’t think England will be a lesser side.”

Another batsman pressing his claims, for a middle-order recall in his case, is Essex captain Ravi Bopara.