Root sets off in Test place bid

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ENGLAND have the first match of their tour of India today, an important tour as well as a learning one for Sheffield’s Joe Root.

There is a vacancy at the top of the England order after the retirement of Andrew Strauss and Root is the newcomer on tour along with Somerset’s Nick Compton.

As the only other recognised opener - although Compton was initially an opening batsman - Root has an obvious opportunity in the early part of the tour to stake his claim although there have been suggestions Jonathan Trott could be moved up alongside Cook.

Either way, there will be an additional batting vacancy in the Second Test with Ian Bell missing it whilst he returns to England for the birth of his first child.

The England party, minus Kevin Pietersen who has been playing in the T20 Champions League before joining the Test squad, have had a four day, warm-up trip to the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai where one of the invited spin bowlers was Yorkshire’s Azeem Rafiq from Barnsley.

England play India A today who have deliberately not picked a spinner!

Former Yorkshire opener Michael Lumb struck an unbeaten 82 off just 42 balls with five 6s as Sydney Sixers won the T20 Champions League Final in Johannesburg.

After Highveld Lions were dismissed for 121, Lumb and skipper Brad Haddin, 38no, knocked off the runs without loss in just 12.3 overs.