Root set to miss out on opener’s berth in first Test to Compton

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ENGLAND appear certain to persevere with Nick Compton as their Test match opener and resist the temptation of instead fast-tracking Sheffield’s Joe Root up the order against New Zealand.

Coach Andy Flower today stopped short, as is always the case, of directly airing issues of selection in public before the first Test at Dunedin’s University Oval on Tuesday.

But as he reflected on a performance he described as “sloppy” and “ring-rusty” in England’s defeat against a New Zealand XI in Queenstown, he had praise for both Compton and Root - as well as urging caution about the young Yorkshireman’s progress after just one Test cap to date.

Compton who was given the nod alongside captain Cook in that three-wicket warm-up defeat.

He was caught-behind in both innings for an aggregate 22 runs, and effectively bounced out second time round by Mark Gillespie, while Root managed 66 down at number six.

“I thought Nick played really well in India,” said Flower. “He had some tricky situations to deal with there - some extreme sub-continent conditions, obviously the pressure of playing in India for the first time. I thought he did extremely well out there, without getting the huge score. He put on some really valuable partnerships with Cook.

“You’ve got to remember Joe Root has played one Test match. I think everyone should keep a little calm about his prospects.”