Angelo Mathews guided Sri Lanka to a commanding 122-run win over Bangladesh in Colombo to complete a 3-0 ODI series whitewash.

The experienced all-rounder anchored the hosts' innings masterfully, making 87 out of 294 for eight – a target that always looked likely to be well beyond the tourists on a slowing pitch.

Seamer Kasun Rajitha, playing his first match of the series, staked a convincing claim in the early days of Sri Lanka's post-Lasith Malinga era in the 50-over format by ripping out Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal and fellow opener Anamul Haque early in the chase.

Rajitha finished with 2-17 from his five overs, while fellow seamer Dasun Shanaka reduced the middle order to rubble and was the pick of the Sri Lanka attack with 3-27 from six, as Bangladesh were dismissed for 172.

Sri Lanka were made to work for their imposing total after Avishka Fernando was trapped lbw by Shafiul Islam (3-68) in the fifth over.

Captain Dimuth Karunarate and wicketkeeper Kusal Perera steadied matters with 46 and 42 respectively but each fell caught at the wicket in quick succession.

That brought Mathews together with fellow half-centurion Kusal Mendis, who hit 54 from 58 deliveries despite a watchful start to their 101-run partnership.

Soumya Sarkar removed Mendis on his way to career-best figures of 3-56, but that brought Dasun Shanaka to the crease for an explosive 30 off 14 balls.

Mathews rode his luck as he was dropped on 32 and 63 before eventually falling to Soumya in the final over.

It was a fine all-round performance from the pick of Bangladesh's attack, but Soumya was powerless at the other end as Shanaka capitalised on Rajitha's early breakthroughs by removing Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah cheaply.

Soumya was the eighth man to go for 69, bowled by spinner Akila Dananjaya. The only other resistance of note came from Taijul Islam, who was left on 39 not out after last man Rubel Hossain was run out.

Tim Paine believes the Ashes provides Australia with a perfect opportunity to prove they have settled into a more mellow demeanour.

Following the 2018 ball-tampering scandal which resulted in Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith – Paine's predecessor as captain – being suspended, Cricket Australia demanded a review of the team culture.

Bancroft, Smith and Warner all returned to Australia's Test squad for the first time for the Ashes, which starts at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Despite England all-rounder Ben Stokes expressing doubts over Australia's friendlier approach, Paine believes his side can prove they have changed for the better since the controversy in March 2018.

"Every time we play now it is [a chance to do that], there's no doubt about that," Paine told a news conference.

"We want Australian cricket fans and Australian people to be proud of their cricket team. Every time we walk out on the field that's what we're aiming to do.

"We're also aiming to win and be as competitive as people expect of an international cricket side. That's how we're going to go about it.

"Our guys understand what's expected of them. We're role models not just for Australian people but all round the world."

Paine has urged his team-mates to remember a quote widely attributed to former British prime minister Winston Churchill despite there being no evidence he said it.

"There has been a quote going around our changing rooms this week from Winston Churchill actually, and that's that behaviour doesn't lie," Paine added.

"We can talk all we like about how we're going to behave. Ultimately you guys will see how we behave and judge for yourself."

England captain Joe Root explained his increasing ease with being the team's leader motivated his decision to move up to number three in the batting order for the Ashes.

Root will come in at first wicket down as England look to wrest control of the urn from rivals Australia over the next seven weeks.

There has long been a clamour for the 28-year-old to take on that high-pressure role, given his status as the most gifted batsman in a team that frequently loses cheap wickets at the top of the order.

Having captained England to a 4-0 defeat in Australia 18 months ago, Root's growing assurance as skipper helped persuade him to take the plunge.

"I think it's important that we spread the experience out. It gives me the opportunity to lead from the front as well," he told a pre-match news conference on the eve of the highly anticipated series opener at Edgbaston.

"I also feel now that I'm in a place where I've got my head around dealing with the captaincy and my batting – being able to separate the two.

"Hopefully it's an opportunity for me to make an impact at the top of the order."

Joe Denly came into the England side as an opener for this year's tour of the West Indies, meaning he will take on his third batting spot of a four-Test career in Birmingham to accommodate Root's elevation.

Jason Roy backed up his blistering World Cup form with a half-century on his debut in the longest format against Ireland at Lord's last week, but Surrey colleague Rory Burns – himself a Test debutant in Sri Lanka last November – has failed to reach 30 in his past six international innings.

As a collective, it does not present the most intimidating prospect to Australia's much-vaunted seam attack, but Root is confident of their prospects and placed an onus on Roy to take the attack to the tourists.

"I think it's a very exciting top order," he said. "I want Jason to go out and play in his own manner.

"Naturally he has the ability to put any bowler under pressure at any given time. That's very exciting.

"The most import at thing is that as a group we keep things very simple and are focused and continually work hard on those big partnerships that contribute to winning."

Another World Cup hero, Jofra Archer, must wait for his Test bow after James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes were named as England's frontline seam attack.

The 24-year-old fast bowler was England's leading wicket-taker but needed a post-tournament lay off due to a side strain, with Root keen not to risk his fitness as the games come thick and fast in a compressed five-match series.

"Jofra's obviously coming back from quite a serious injury," he said.

"We looked at the conditions and we made a decision on what we thought was best going to take 20 wickets here.

"It also allows him time to get absolutely ready and fit and make sure his workload is up and ready to go for later on in the series if he needs to make an impact."

Australia have named former captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft together in their squad for the first time since the trio served suspensions for their part in a ball-tampering scandal.

Smith's successor Tim Paine used his briefing to talk up the high standards of behaviour set in his regime – albeit by mistakenly attributing a quote to Winston Churchill – but Root feels such matters should not be a focus of the England dressing room.  

"We'll see how that unfolds over the course of this series, but their behaviour doesn't really concern me," he added.

"My concern is we go about things in our own way, we know what we're about as a side and how we want to go about things. 

"It's really important we look after that and don't get too wrapped up in how they play their cricket."

Tim Paine insists he has no need to justify his place as Australia's captain heading into the opening Ashes Test against England.

Australia and England clash in the first Test of the five-match series at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Paine was named Australia's captain after Steve Smith was stripped of the role after the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

The wicket-keeper has scored only one first-class century in his career and some doubts have been raised over his role, but he feels no need to fear his place despite Smith's return to the team, alongside former deputy David Warner.

On the eve of the Ashes, asked if he felt he had to justify his position, Paine told reporters: "No, I do not at all. I'm 34, I don't really care about my place in the side any more. I'm here to do a job.

"I've been put in this team to captain and wicket-keep to the best of my ability and at 34, if you are looking further ahead than the next Test match you are kidding yourself.

"I'm not going to waste time looking over my shoulder. I'm enjoying the job that I'm doing."

Australia regained the Ashes in style on home turf in the 2017-18 series, winning 4-0, but they have not won a Test series on English soil since 2001. 

Paine, though, feels this Australia squad are capable of retaining the urn against an England side struggling for consistency in the longest form of the game.

"[The Ashes] means a hell of a lot. Every time you play Test cricket against anyone it's a real honour to be out there representing your country," Paine said.

"The history of the Ashes takes that to another level. We are excited, we have an opportunity to come to England and do something that even some of our great teams haven't managed to do in the last 20 years.

"We have the self-belief that we can do it. Everyone can't wait."

England have named their XI for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, with Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Olly Stone the men to miss out from the initial 14-man squad.

Archer was England's leading wicket-taker as the hosts claimed glory at the World Cup this month, but he was prescribed a period of rest after having to negotiate the latter games of the competition while managing a side strain.

The 24-year-old returned to T20 action for Sussex against Surrey last week, but England have elected not to risk the fast bowler, with veteran seamer James Anderson returning following a calf injury.

Joe Root's frontline seam attack is completed by Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, who combined to blow Ireland away for 38 all out at Lord's last week.

Their exploits meant left-armer Curran and paceman Olly Stone did not a have a second-innings chance to press their Ashes case further, although they claimed three wickets apiece in the 143-run victory.

England's batting struggles were to the fore once again against Ireland and Root will move up to number three, with Joe Denly dropping to four as the latter confirmed at a news conference on Tuesday.

Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali retains his place despite being shy of his best form with bat and ball.

England have won the past four home Ashes series, but Australia are in possession of the urn, having prevailed 4-0 on home soil 18 months ago.

 

England team to face Australia in the first Ashes Test:

Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (captain), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

England have named their XI for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, with Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Olly Stone the men to miss out from the initial 14-man squad.

With the Cricket World Cup in the rear-view mirror, attention turns to an Ashes series that will be hard-pressed to produce the same kind of drama. 

Following their triumph over New Zealand in what many consider the greatest cricket game ever played, England are out to make it arguably the best year in their history by regaining the urn. 

Australia, meanwhile, are aiming to claim a first Ashes win in England since 2001, but start that quest at Edgbaston, a venue with few happy memories for the tourists and plenty for the hosts. 

So ahead of Thursday's opening day at the site of England's semi-final demolition of the old enemy, we assess the state of the two rival nations. 


BATTING 

There remains no definitive solution to England's interminable struggles to find a settled opening pair, though they appear poised to put faith in one of their World Cup heroes, Jason Roy, despite his inexperience at Test level. 

Roy scored 72 in the second innings of his Test debut against Ireland last week, having only managed five with his first knock, as he looked to adapt his devastating game to the longest format, but the challenge of attempting to see off the new red ball against the Australia attack will be a daunting one. 

It would be a less imposing test if he had a seasoned partner at the top but he will instead likely be occupying the crease alongside another player for whom the Ashes is a completely new experience, with Rory Burns having reached 50 just three times in 16 innings for Surrey this season. 

To protect against a collapse should England's openers continue to fail, Joe Root is set to move up the order and provide a steadying force at number three with Joe Denly dropping to four. 

The picture in the middle order could hardly be more contrasting. Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes give England's batting substantial depth but they and Sam Curran, who has too often had to mount recovery efforts early in his Test career, will hope to avoid being tasked with salvaging innings on a regular basis. 

If the top order can provide some solidity, England's strength in numbers with the bat could prove the difference in a series where the ball may dominate.  

The batting order undoubtedly remains the biggest question mark for Australia as well, even though the returns of Steve Smith and David Warner from suspension will provide a huge boost. 

Warner, despite taking a blow to the thigh in training, is set to open the batting. However, the question is whether that will be alongside Marcus Harris or the third party in the infamous ball-tampering scandal, Cameron Bancroft. The selectors will have to weigh up the risk of throwing Bancroft into the fire at Edgbaston, where he will undoubtedly be targeted by the home fans, versus going with an opener whose inability to convert starts has previously hurt Australia. 

There will be significant pressure on Usman Khawaja to finally deliver on English pitches at three, which would help alleviate some of the burden on former skipper and talisman Smith. 

Travis Head should provide a counter-attacking force from five, but the other big call for Edgbaston is at the spot below him. 

Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade and Marnus Labuschagne are all in contention to bat at six in the opener, the latter the leading run-scorer in County Championship Division Two, and it is a decision Australia can ill-afford to get wrong as they seek a batsman to protect a tail that is unlikely to wag with as much effectiveness as England's. 


BOWLING 

At the start of the year, the prospect of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both missing out on the first Test would have seemed a preposterous one, with the thought of the former being omitted for Australia even more bemusing after his incredible performances at the World Cup. 

Yet, such is the depth of the tourists' attack that Starc faces the very real possibility of watching the opener from the pavilion with Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon all apparent locks to play in the first Test and Peter Siddle having re-emerged as a genuine option in the attack. 

Saving Starc for Lord's - the site of his stunning reverse-swing yorker to Ben Stokes at the World Cup – and Headingley, where swing will be a greater factor, may not be the worst policy. If Australia end their 18-year Edgbaston hoodoo and then get to unleash a fresh Starc and Hazlewood against a batting order accustomed to collapses, they will be in a very strong position. 

England's biggest call with the bowlers appears to be whether to end the Anderson-Broad axis early.  

Should they choose to do so it would be Stuart Broad to miss out, with World Cup final Super Over hero Jofra Archer in the running to bring his staggering raw pace to the highest level of the red-ball game.  

After his Herculean effort in said final, Stokes has an opportunity to add to his national-hero status and the all-rounder should be well rested in terms of his bowling having carried little of the load during the World Cup. 

Curran and Woakes provide further world-class all-round options and, even if the latter misses out on Edgbaston, he is almost certain to be back in the frame for Lord's, where he has an average of under 10. 

Moeen Ali will be hoping to firmly re-establish himself as England's best spin option, while Olly Stone is another who offers exciting pace.  

Out of action with a side injury, Mark Wood could yet return for the last two Tests and the fast bowler may be a crucial late addition for an attack that could tire in a gruelling five-match, seven-week series. 


OUTLOOK 

England are favourites to regain the urn on home soil, as Australia have not won an Ashes away series since 2001 and the last four series have gone to the home side. 

The hosts prevailed 3-2 four years ago and, with both teams possessing extremely talented but fallible batting line-ups and supremely deep bowling attacks that should thrive on English pitches, an enthralling series producing the same result would be no surprise.

Ben Stokes has no doubt the Ashes will bring out Australia's true competitive edge, despite their apparent bid to cultivate a more wholesome image.

The first Test begins at Edgbaston on Thursday as England seek to follow up their Cricket World Cup success by regaining the urn.

That ODI triumph on home soil included a semi-final win over an Australia side who appear eager to mend bridges after the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the sport.

But Stokes, who missed the 4-0 series loss in Australia last time out, is expecting the niceties to fade under the intense heat of the two nations' long-standing rivalry.

"It is weird Aussies trying to be nice to you," he said in quotes reported by The Guardian. 

"I think once you get out in the middle and cross the white line, the real competitive side of both teams will come out and Ashes are the biggest Test series played in the world.

"There is always something that happens between teams in Ashes series and I don't think this will be any different.

"Both teams are desperate to win, both sets of players are desperate to perform because Ashes series are where you get scrutinised and criticised more, or praised if you do well.

"I think that first morning of any series is when you want to stamp your authority as a team with bat and ball.

"Getting off to a good start can make it flow throughout the series."

David Warner was one of the Australia players implicated in the ball-tampering affair and Stokes, who was pivotal in England's World Cup success, knows it will be important to limit the destructive batsman's impact.

"He is a player who can take games away from you," added Stokes, who will serve as vice-captain and averages 33.89 with the bat and 31.92 with the ball in Tests.  

"He is a phenomenal batsman and very dangerous opener, so to tie him down and not let him establish his authority against us would be a really big plus.

"We don't want to give anything away to any of their batsmen. We want to let them know we are here to be serious and everyone in the changing room is desperately trying to get that urn back because it's not good them having it."

The Ashes is certainly no stranger to moments of controversy.

Pitting two giants of cricket against one another in an age-old rivalry is always likely to be a recipe for some... well, let us say 'tasty' encounters.

From metal bats to serious injury, batsmen refusing to walk and whole teams leaving the field, England versus Australia for the right to a tiny urn has created some unforgettable moments of infamy in the past 137 years.

Here are some of the most notorious flashpoints...

'Bodyline'

Perhaps the most infamous of all Ashes controversies took place in the 1932-33 series, where England captain Douglas Jardine resorted to rather prosaic means to combat the batting of Don Bradman.

In the first Test, the tourists bowled straight for Australian torsos with short-pitched deliveries in a tactic that was described by local media as 'Bodyline'.

It was brutally effective - England won the series 4-1 - but not only was Jardine's plan considered far outside the spirit of the game, it left Bill Woodfull with a bruised chest and fractured Bert Oldfield's skull. New laws were introduced to stop it happening in such fashion again.

 

Lillee ready for ComBat

Test cricket is steeped in tradition, arguably more so than most other global sports, so you can imagine how well received it was when somebody tried to play with a metal bat. Step forward, Dennis Lillee.

In 1979, in a tour where tensions were already high, Lillee emerged at the WACA with an aluminium bat. He faced four balls and plenty of bemused looks, particularly given the unearthly noise of the thing when he made contact.

Ian Botham complained to the umpire and Australia skipper Greg Chappell, apparently believing the bat to be a disadvantage, reportedly told Lillee to swap back to willow. A furious Lillee hurled the bat towards the boundary before agreeing.

 

Digging for (no) victory

On the final day of the third Test at Headingley in 1975, Australia were all set to continue their chase for 445 and regain the Ashes.

As groundsman George Cawthray removed the covers that morning, however, he saw huge chunks had been dug out of the pitch, some of them filled in with oil. The match was duly abandoned.

The vandalism was a protest calling for the release of George Davis, a 34-year-old London minicab driver who had been sentenced in 1974 to 20 years in prison for armed robbery.

 

England walk off to escape Snow flurry

An acrimonious series reached boiling point in the seventh test in Sydney in 1970-71 - an extra match scheduled after a previous abandonment.

England bowler John Snow, who had upset Australia with bouncing balls in earlier Tests, caught Terry Jenner on the head with a fearsome delivery and home fans were not happy. One grappled with Snow on the pitch; others rained down cans and bottles in his direction.

Skipper Ray Illingworth had seen enough. He marched his side off, despite the risk of a forfeit, until the pitch was cleared of debris and order was restored. In the end, England returned and won the Test by 62 runs to take a 2-0 series win. 

 

What's glove got to do with it?

James Anderson and Monty Panesar were hanging on in Cardiff in 2009 as England desperately tried to draw the first Test 

With England effectively waiting for the clock to tick down, 12th man Bilal Shafayat was sent on with a new pair of gloves for Anderson. One over later, he brought on another. When England physio Steve McCaig appeared to offer some advice to the batsmen, the umpires stepped in.

"He changed [the gloves] the over before, I don't think they'd be too sweaty in one over," an incensed Australia captain Ricky Ponting said. "I'm not sure what the physio was doing out there. We came to play by the rules and the spirit of the game - it's up to them to do what they want to do."

England skipper Andrew Strauss insisted the whole affair was just a misunderstanding. It was a useful one - England got the draw and went on to win the series 2-1.

 

'Broad, walk! Umpire?!'

The ICC were encouraged to suspend Stuart Broad after he refused to walk from the stumps during the third day of the first Test in 2013.

Broad was given not out by umpire Aleem Dar despite blatantly edging Ashton Agar's delivery to Michael Clarke, and he chose not to depart the pitch amid some pretty intense fury from the Australians, most notably coach Darren Lehmann. The anger only increased after Broad helped England to a narrow win.

Although Broad was not compelled by the rules to accept his fate, it was considered by many to be against the spirit of the game. Indeed, West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin got a suspension for a similar offence just a month earlier.

 

Clarke threat takes sledging to new levels

Sledging - for the uninitiated, that's trying to put off the opposition through insults - is a fairly common if discouraged practice in cricket, and no less so during the Ashes.

Six years ago, one particular comment from Clarke caused a real stir: the stump microphone picked him up telling England star Anderson to "get ready for a broken f****** arm" as Australia chased victory in the first Test.

Clarke was fined 20 per cent of his match fee and accepted his language was unwarranted, but he insisted he was right to stick up for team-mate George Bailey. Still, it provoked plenty of discussion and even forced former vice-captain David Warner to admit their sledging tactics had gone too far.

West Indies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has maintained the belief that the regional team should have looked past star batsman Chris Gayle for the regional team’s tour against India.

The 39-year-old opening batsman had initially announced plans to retire from international cricket, following the recently concluded ICC World Cup.

 Gayle, however, changed his stance just ahead of the tournament and indicated he would stay on for the upcoming tour of India as a potential farewell.  Ambrose and a few others, however, believe the World Cup was the perfect time for the veteran to step aside.  The left-hander was, however, included in an ODI squad to face India. 

Despite struggling to make an impact at the World Cup, Gayle was the player of the series in an impressive performance again England in the Caribbean earlier this year.  While lauding Gayle for his contribution to regional cricket, Ambrose insisted it was time for fresh blood.

 “You need them to get better in terms of the Hetmyer and the Pooran and so forth, and Evin Lewis; so, what are you going to do? Let Chris Gayle play for a next four years and then four years later you bring them in, and are they going to get better then? Of course not,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

“If any of the selectors walk around thinking they owe Chris Gayle or anybody anything then something is wrong because that’s not what West Indies cricket is all about; it is about picking your best possible players to take the team forward,” he added.

“Chris Gayle has played for many years and has done extremely well and I have a lot of respect for him but what I am saying is that it is time to move on. People talking about give him a farewell Test match; he hasn’t played Test for five years so what you are telling me is that one of your opening batsmen, whoever he may be, you’re going to tell him to sit this game out and let’s give Chris Gayle a farewell, but that doesn’t make sense.”

 

Joe Denly will have no sympathy for Australia if they are taunted over the 2018 ball-tampering scandal by England fans during the Ashes.

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been included in Australia's squad for the first Test at Edgbaston on Thursday.

All three players were handed suspensions by Cricket Australia following their involvement in altering the condition of the ball during a match against South Africa in March 2018.

Smith and Warner returned to Australia's squad for the Cricket World Cup after serving 12-month bans and were the targets of jibes from England supporters in a warm-up match, a group-stage clash and the semi-final.

Bancroft, meanwhile, is "very close" to making his first international appearance since a nine-month suspension, according to coach Justin Langer, who acknowledged on Tuesday his side can do little to avoid negative treatment from the home crowd.

And Denly, who will bat at four in the opening Test with Joe Root moving up to three, believes England would not be received any differently by Australia supporters if the situation was reversed.

"If it was the other way around and we were going out to Australia, I'm pretty sure we would hear a lot about it," he told a media conference.

"What the crowd decides to do I don't know. I'm sure the Aussies might hear a little bit about sandpaper-gate throughout the series.

"I can't really comment on how [the crowd] will be feeling but after a few beers I'm sure the Aussies might get a bit of stick."

India opener Prithvi Shaw has been given an eight-month ban for a doping violation, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed.

According to a statement released by the ICC, the 19-year-old "inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can commonly be found in cough syrups".

Shaw accepted his charge from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and explained the substance was present in an over-the-counter remedy he bought to treat a respiratory tract infection.

The 19-year-old, who scored a century on his Test debut against West Indies last October, will be banned until November 15 as his punishment is backdated to March 16.

Following his impressive introduction at international level, Shaw suffered an ankle injury while fielding during a warm-up game on India's tour of Australia and played no part in the tourists' 2-1 Test series win.

Shaw will miss India's series in the West Indies and at home to South Africa, although he will be available for the second Test of the subsequent two-match rubber against Bangladesh.

England's bid to regain the Ashes starts at 'Fortress Edgbaston' on Thursday.

The Birmingham venue has provided England with home comforts in recent years and was also the site for their Cricket World Cup semi-final victory over Australia this month.

Stuart Broad and Nathan Lyon are seeking personal milestones, while James Anderson will hope to continue his fine record against David Warner.

We look at the Opta numbers behind the first encounter.

 

8 - England are on an eight-game unbeaten streak in Tests at Edgbaston, a run that dates back 11 years to a 2008 defeat to South Africa. In total, England have lost only one of their last 14 Tests at Edgbaston, winning 10 and drawing three.

5 - Australia have failed to win any of their previous five Tests on the road - losing four and drawing one - and are on their longest winless run since a nine-match sequence throughout 2013.

4 - Each of the past four Ashes series to take place in England have been won by the hosts, who last tasted defeat to their great rivals on home soil in 2001.

10 - The year 2001 was also when Australia last won a match in any format at Edgbaston, where they are on a 10-game winless run.

95 - Broad is five wickets short of 100 Ashes dismissals. Should he reach the century, he will become the ninth man to do so for England.

9 - Anderson has dismissed Warner on nine occasions in Tests. No bowler has dismissed the opener more often, with India's Ravichandran Ashwin also removing Warner nine times.

104 - With 104 Ashes wickets, Anderson is 24 behind Ian Botham, England's all-time leading wicket-taker against Australia.

343 - Australian Lyon needs seven more victims to become the seventh spinner to reach 350 Test wickets. Only three Australian bowlers - Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Dennis Lillee - have attained that figure.

England captain Joe Root will be promoted up the order to bat at three in the first Ashes Test, with Joe Denly confirming he will drop down to four against Australia.

Top-order woe has been a theme of England's recent Tests and Trevor Bayliss' side will bid to remedy the issue by moving Root back up the order at Edgbaston.

Root averages 40.47 in 40 innings at number three, compared to 48 in 60 at his preferred position of number four, which will now be occupied by Denly.

"Joe Root will be batting at three and I'll be batting at four," Denly confirmed at a news conference on Tuesday.

"[I'm] very excited. I wasn't too fussed really where I was batting. It's just great to be in that starting XI. I've batted at four before playing for Kent and throughout my career.

"For me, it wasn't really a big issue. Just happy to be playing.

"I think Rooty just wants to get involved in the game and get up there and get out in the middle and get, hopefully, a lot of runs.

"I don't think there's anything more to it than that. Looking forward to seeing how it goes."

There had been suggestions that Bayliss was the one bidding to convince Root to come in earlier, though Denly revealed it was the skipper who had informed him of his wish to make the switch.

"He rang me the other day and just told me that he wanted to bat three and wanted me to go four. As simple as that," Denly added.

The move, which would not affect likely openers Rory Burns and Jason Roy's slots, was blasted by former England batsman Mark Butcher.

"Joe Denly, who, to me, along with Rory Burns, are the two most vulnerable players at the top of the order," he told ESPN's Switch Hit podcast.

"If they get off to a bad start first two Test matches, don't make any runs, the calls for one or both of them to go would be pretty loud.

"You're putting Joe in a position that there wasn't a problem with. 

"I'm not having it, it's terrible, it's a bad call."

David Warner will be fit to open the batting for Australia against England in the first Ashes Test, coach Justin Langer has said.

There was concern on Monday when Warner needed medical treatment after inside-edging a delivery from Michael Neser onto his thigh.

However, the 32-year-old was back in the nets on Tuesday and Langer confirmed that Warner will feature when the opening Test begins at Edgbaston on Thursday. 

"He's fine," Langer told a news conference.

"He would not miss this for anything in the world, I reckon. He can't wait. He's that excited [for an] an Ashes Test match. 

"Steve Waugh's in the changing room so a few little bruises every now and again...there's no way he's not walking out to bat.

"Tugga would probably kick him out the door, I reckon. He's fine.

"He got a little bruise [from being] hit on the leg yesterday, he's a bit stiff this morning but he will be 100 per cent ready to go."

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