Jonny Bairstow has lost his England Test contract and Mark Wood has also missed out, but Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Dom Sibley have all been handed central deals.

Bairstow had a red-ball contract for the 2019-20 season despite struggling for form.

But after featuring just once for the Test team in the past year - scoring only 10 runs in the Boxing Day Test in South Africa - the Yorkshire star has not seen his deal renewed.

Bairstow will instead have only a white-ball contract, as will fast bowler Wood.

The Durham seamer has played three times for the red-ball team this year, impressing in the tour of South Africa, where he took nine wickets in Johannesburg.

But Wood fell down the pecking order as England returned home, with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes often preferred.

By contrast, there was good news for Crawley, Pope and Sibley, who have established themselves in Joe Root's Test squad.

Crawley has steadily improved since his November 2019 debut, smashing 267 in his first innings against Pakistan last month.

Pope has been a regular this year, too, and had an unbeaten century in South Africa, while Sibley's steady work has bolstered a previously flimsy top order.

Meanwhile, Tom Curran had an increment contract for the previous campaign but now has a white-ball deal. Joe Denly has missed out altogether.

Eoin Morgan is relishing being able to field a near full-strength side in the Twenty20 International series against Australia and says the door is still open for Joe Root in the shortest format.

Morgan was unable to call upon the likes of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Sam Curran, who are back in the squad after being in the bio-secure bubble for the Tests against West Indies and Pakistan.

An ODI series win over Ireland and the 1-1 T20 draw against Pakistan gave other players an opportunity to stake a claim with the T20 World Cup in India to come next year.

Jason Roy misses the T20s versus Australia due to a side strain but could return in the 50-over format, while Ben Stokes remains with his family in New Zealand after his father was diagnosed with brain cancer in January.

Morgan has welcomed the return of some of his World Cup winners ahead of a three-match T20 series that starts in Southampton on Friday.

The white-ball captain, who confirmed Buttler will open the batting with Jonny Bairstow despite Tom Banton impressing against Pakistan, said: "For the first time this summer we are seeing the majority of our best team on the park and that's great.

"Bar injury and absent players, which is only a couple, we are at full strength. That is a nice place to be.

"We don't have to pick our best XI every series that we play because we can't put all our eggs in one basket because we need 16 or 17 players in the lead up to a World Cup, all vying for selection in the best 15.

"We found in the lead in to the 50-overs World Cup that was the best position to be in."

 

There was no place for Root in the T20 squad, but Morgan says the Test skipper can still force his way back in.

"Yes, we have had that conversation with Joe and he certainly does have a future. The conversation was surrounding Joe not getting in the best XI at the moment," said Morgan.

"We didn't want to carry him around and him not play any cricket. Joe wants to play T20 cricket and put his best case forwards particularly when he doesn't have a lot of opportunity to go back to Yorks and play T20 cricket.

"We felt it was a really good opportunity for him to do that."

Joe Root has been left out of England's squad for the Twenty20 International encounters with Australia, while Jason Roy will hope to prove his fitness to return in the ODI series.

Root has not played for his country in the shortest format since May 2019 and has been overlooked for the three-match T20 series, which starts at the Rose Bowl on Friday.

The Test captain has made an impressive start to the T20 Blast back in Yorkshire colours, having stated he has not given up on forcing his way back into squad for the T20 World Cup in India next year, but said he was realistic over his chances.

Root has been named in a 13-man squad for the ODI series, which follows the T20s, versus Aaron Finch's side at Old Trafford.

Roy will sit out the T20s due to a left side strain that has kept him out of the ongoing series against Pakistan, but will remain in the bio-secure bubble with a view to showing he can feature in the 50-over format.

Test players Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Mark Wood are back in both squads, while Chris Woakes is set to play in the ODI series.

Ben Stokes remains absent after flying to New Zealand to be with his family, as his father Ged has brain cancer. Fellow all-rounder David Willey was overlooked for both squads despite being man of the series in the ODIs against Ireland. 

National selector Ed Smith, said: "These two series against Australia provide an exciting end to the summer. We have selected strong squads.

"We are also continuing to develop depth in preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cups."

 

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.

Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood.

Joe Root has urged England to seize the moment when they attempt to seal a series win over Pakistan with uncertainty over exactly when they will play Test cricket again.

England will start the third Test at the Rose Bowl on Friday with a 1-0 lead after a frustrating weather-ruined contest at the same venue ended in a draw on Monday. 

The tourists have not suffered a series defeat in England in the longest format for a decade, drawing on their previous two visits. 

England beat West Indies 2-1 when international cricket returned following a coronavirus-enforced hiatus and with scheduling still to be confirmed in such uncertain times, Root has called on his team-mates to step up again in Southampton. 

The England captain said: "My message to the guys was quite simple today, that we don't know when the next time will be that we play Test cricket, so let's make sure we throw everything into this week. 

"Let's make sure we leave no stone unturned and we give everything to each other and the badge going into this last game. 

"The guys have prepared really well over the last couple of days and I fully expect everyone to give everything over the next five days and give ourselves the best chance of winning the series 2-0." 

England have named an unchanged squad for the finale, but Root says the hosts will leave it late to name their final XI. 

Asked if spinner Dom Bess could miss out in favour of an all-seam attack, he said: "We've not settled on an 11 yet. It's so hard to tell with that wicket right now, it's obviously been under cover for a large proportion of the last week. 

"With finally some sunshine and a bit of wind, it could change drastically over the course of today. Try and keep everything on the table for tomorrow, then we'll make a call." 

The two sides agreed to start 30 minutes earlier than scheduled in the final Test if time is lost due to bad weather on the previous day.

Captains Joe Root and Azhar Ali were both able to draw positives from the drawn second Test between England and Pakistan, a match which was ruined by stoppages due to bad light and rain.

Only 134.3 overs of play were possible across the five days in Southampton, meaning England remain 1-0 up with a game to play in the three-match series.

After Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 236 in their first innings, England reached 110-4 before declaring on a final day that did not start until the afternoon, allowing an early finish to proceedings.

Root admitted it was "disappointing" that the conditions did not allow for an intriguing contest to play out, as well as suggesting a move to start play earlier in England to make up issues with the light.

"We were really excited about this week, a new challenge for us, and it's disappointing not to get in as much cricket as we'd have liked - but nice to be stood here still 1-0 up in the series," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"Potentially, in England, we may be able to start half an hour earlier - if we lose time - I think you want to protect the crux of Test cricket as much as you can, in terms of the ball, but it is something to look at it I suppose.

"But I do think it has been a week of strange circumstances. It's not very often that you see bad light play such a part over a five-day game. Everyone has coped with it as best they can."

Zak Crawley's half-century was a highlight of Monday's limited action, the right-handed batsman marking his return to the XI with 54 from 99 balls.

On the performance of Crawley, who replaced the absent Ben Stokes in the team, Root said: "I thought he played excellently today.

"I spoke to the batting group before we started play today about making sure that we were very professional in how we approached this session - and for what is a very young top order, in particular, it was a great experience for us."

Opposite number Azhar was pleased with the way his team fought hard with the bat to post a competitive total in what were bowler-friendly conditions.

The tourists must now win the final match, which gets under way at the same venue on Friday, if they are to draw level, but there were promising signs for their skipper in what little action unfolded at the Rose Bowl.

"It has been frustrating for both teams. The game was set quite nicely, with conditions good for bowling throughout - the total we got, we thought would be very competitive but, unfortunately, the weather was the winner in the end," he said.

"I'm proud of them [the batsmen]. We spoke before the game started that we are taking the challenge of batting first. Whoever went in fought really hard; the England bowling attack is a brilliant attack, with the experience of Broad and Anderson. The guys stuck to the task."

Sam Curran replaced Jofra Archer as one of two changes to England's line-up for the second Test against Pakistan.

With James Anderson's place in the side having all but been confirmed on Wednesday, it was Archer – struggling to replicate the form he showed in 2019 – who made way for Curran.

Ben Stokes was already a guaranteed absentee after he left the squad on Sunday to travel to New Zealand for family reasons, with Zak Crawley replacing the all-rounder.

In Stokes' absence, England captain Joe Root elected to give seamer Curran an opportunity to build on some impressive performances against West Indies while also adding extra depth to England's batting order.

"I think more than anything it was to lengthen our batting, with Ben missing out making sure we had that depth there," Root told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

"Also, Sam's record in England is fantastic and he deserves an opportunity. It gives Jofra a chance to rest up and be fully fit for the next game."

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first in sweltering conditions at the Rose Bowl, though Root believed England's swing bowlers could exploit the humid conditions.

"We would have batted first as well, but it's muggy and we've got a very good swing attack," Root said.

"We're looking forward to exploiting these conditions early and hopefully getting some wickets. Getting the first go at it isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially coming on the back of our bowling at Old Trafford."

There was just one change for Pakistan, with Fawad Alam earning his first Test appearance since 2009.

"He's been scoring lots of runs in first-class cricket. He's been patient for a long time," Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said.

"Seasoned character, seasoned player and waiting for this opportunity for a long time. He has all the potential."

Joe Root believes England's first Test win over Pakistan was exactly the sort of victory they need to build on if they have serious designs on becoming the world's best team.

England had their backs against the wall for much of last week at Old Trafford but made a remarkable recovery to win the series opener after Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler led a successful 277-run chase.

Root's side are now preparing for the second match against Pakistan at Southampton, where they can clinch the series and the captain can claim a seventh Test win in succession.

Yet Root did not feel he performed his duties particularly effectively in Manchester, although the match moved the team in the right direction.

"I didn't think I had a very good game last week, to be honest," he told reporters. "I made a few errors, tactical errors, but that can happen from time to time.

"You're not always going to get it right. I think most importantly, it's very clear for the guys how we're looking to play.

"Those messages are consistent and we're seeing improvement week in, week out. That's a really promising sign for the group, and long may that continue.

"Most importantly, we're looking forward, it's not about me, it's not about how many games we win with me as captain, it's about us getting consistently better over a long period of time, looking towards being the number one side in the world.

"If we can maintain that attitude collectively, winning obviously breeds confidence all the time. And people putting in performances like Jos and Wizz [Woakes] did on that final day will breed confidence in the rest of the guys, too.

"The other players, young batters in the team, looking at those two getting the job done, will think, 'I want that to be me next time, I want to be the one stood there at the end having won the game when the heat was on'.

"The more and more we can keep performing like that and keep winning, the quicker I think our development as a side will move forward."

James Anderson is set to keep his place in the England team despite a disappointing performance in the first Test against Pakistan last week.

England head to Southampton with a 1-0 lead in the three-match series despite frustration for Anderson at Old Trafford.

The 38-year-old seamer - closing in on 600 Test wickets - returned underwhelming match figures of 1-97 and subsequently fielded questions on whether he was set to retire.

Anderson insisted that was not an option, though, and he has the support of captain Joe Root, who intends to keep faith with England's record Test wicket-taker.

"Jimmy's likely to play," Root told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the second Test, which starts on Thursday. "I can't tell you who else is likely to play.

"The only other player I can guarantee if he's fit and well and doesn't get food poisoning tonight is probably me."

Pressed on Anderson getting an immediate opportunity to bounce back, Root replied: "Wouldn't you give him the opportunity with nearly 600 wickets under his belt?"

The captain, who welcomed "very exciting" Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson to the squad, revealed he had a private conversation with Anderson during the Old Trafford Test.

Having told the veteran to "remember how good a player you are", Root offered a firm defence of his most senior star.

"I think to question Jimmy's ability and his record... do that at your own peril," the skipper said.

"There's a reason he's got so many wickets over such a long period of time. It's because he's a consistent performer. I don't think it'll be long before he's back in the wickets big time.

"It would be very silly for us to write someone like Jimmy off. He's still as dedicated as ever, working very hard at his game, and looking very good in practice.

"I don't think it'll be long before he's got another five-fer next to his name."

He added: "It just shows that even the greats of the game and the greats of English cricket still have those days where it doesn't always come as naturally to you, it doesn't always feel the easiest game in the world.

"You know it can be a struggle sometimes. That's just the way it goes.

"I think with Jimmy, you know it won't be long before he's right back at the top, at the peak of his powers, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing him perform again this week."

Anderson's long-time colleague Stuart Broad had a more prominent role in proceedings with figures of 6-91 in Manchester, yet his send-off of Yasir Shah saw him fined by the match referee, his father Chris.

Root said: "It was disappointing for that to happen. It just shows the frustrations that Test cricket can throw at you sometimes.

"You know how much it means to Stuart, and over the past couple of weeks he's made it clear how much it means for him to play for England and do well. That probably just slightly boiled over.

"I'm sure that was a frosty conversation with his dad at some point last week. But he'll look to move on. He knows he's got to set an example and I can't see that being a major talking point dragging over into this week.

"Ultimately, we want to make sure none of our players are missing games through avoidable incidents like that."

Jofra Archer has warned it is "unrealistic" to expect him to bowl at 90mph every ball as he told critics the only opinions that interest him are those from within the England dressing room. 

There were questions raised about Archer's pace in the first Test against Pakistan, when he struggled to muster the ferocity that typified his entry into the international arena. 

England are expected to keep faith with Archer for the second match in the series, which begins at Southampton's Rose Bowl on Thursday. 

Captain Joe Root has been supportive, predicting England "will continue to see very special things" from Archer as long as he continues to learn from the ups and downs in his career. 

Archer would love to be bowling consistently at an intimidating speed, but he is more concerned with his overall development. 

"I cannot get away from the fact there is always attention towards the pace I am producing," Archer said in his Daily Mail column. 

"From my perspective, I know I can bowl one or two 90mph deliveries a spell even when not everything is clicking, but to do it every ball, everything has to be working perfectly in unison and you have to be in that perfect, competitive mind frame. 

"Not everything comes together all the time. People look back at my debut performance in the Ashes Test at Lord's last year and expect that kind of display everywhere, but it is unrealistic."

Archer appealed for "more appreciation" of the challenges of fast bowling, and England would not want to push him to strain his body if it meant the Sussex paceman taking any physical risks. 

The Barbados-born quick has 38 wickets in 10 Tests since making his debut against Australia in last year's Ashes, and with James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the twilight of their careers, England are hoping Archer proves an enduring and potent presence in their attack. 

"People will judge you how they want and there are a lot of opinions out there. But I am a 25-year-old fast bowler trying to develop my game and the opinions that matter most to me are the ones of my team-mates," Archer said. 

"As long as Joe Root and my England team-mates are fine, I really don't care what other people are thinking." 

He added that "as long as the people in and around this circle are understanding - and it 100 per cent seems like they are - I am very happy and in a good head space". 

Joe Root revealed how Ben Stokes' Ashes heroics at Headingley had England always thinking they could defy the odds and beat Pakistan in a thrilling first Test.

The hosts claimed the series opener in Manchester as they chased down a target of 277 on a gripping fourth day's play, despite at one stage slipping to 117-5 in their second innings.

Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes combined to put on a pivotal stand of 139 for the sixth wicket, making 75 and 84 not out respectively as England squeezed home with three wickets to spare.

Stokes contributed just nine on this occasion but his stunning knock against Australia in 2019, when he made 135 not out in a famous one-wicket win, always offers inspiration to his team-mates, according to Root.

"We knew it was going to take something special," England's captain told Sky Sports in the post-match presentation ceremony.

"I think, after last summer, it's very hard to stop believing. We know that anything is possible. 

"One thing you can never doubt about our dressing room is the character, the way that we always continue to keep believing and never give up. That's a real strong trait of ours. 

"I'm really proud and please that it has shone through today and the guys have gone on to get us 1-0 up."

England's victory puts them 1-0 up in the three-match series, a rare situation for Root and his players.

They have made a habit of losing the opener in recent history, including against West Indies on home soil earlier this year, but now have a lead to defend as the teams head to Southampton.

"I think the most important thing is we back it up again now. It's been frustrating in many ways [losing the opening game], but ultimately we've got to keep looking forward – and keep learning," Root said.

"There are definitely things we can take from this game and improve on. But I couldn't be more proud of the character we've shown, the way we approached the day and the clarity in which the way the guys played.

"On a very tough surface, to score that many runs, shows the ability of the group."

He added: "I couldn't be more proud of the lads. I thought that the way we approached the day was outstanding, and that partnership between Woaksey and Jos was magnificent.

"They were very clever about how they went about it, the way they constructed it."

When Pakistan were previously in England for a Test series, Babar Azam saw a promising start cut short by a bad break.  

The batsman made a half-century in the opening game at Lord’s in May 2018, but his involvement in the series was painfully cut short when struck on the left arm by a Ben Stokes short ball.  

Forced to retire hurt with 68 to his name, Babar did not appear again during the tour. A fracture ended his contribution as the tourists triumphed at the home of cricket, while he had to watch on as his side were crushed in the second Test at Headingley. 

At that stage of his career, Babar was viewed as a limited-overs specialist still making his way in the Test arena. With an average under 25 prior to playing England, he was – at the age of 23 – a player with obvious potential working out how to play the game of patience.

Just over two years on, he returns to England having enhanced his reputation to such an extent that the so-called 'Fab Four' - Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson - have company. It is unclear who identifies as the cricketing versions of Paul, John, Ringo and George, but Babar is not like the fifth Beatle – his identity is clear.

Start a discussion with cricket fans over who should be considered the lead act in the group and you are opening a cricketing can of worms. It is a topic that, understandably, stirs up national pride, but also heated discussions about the weight of importance given to each format. 

What is not up for debate, however, is that Babar deserves to be in the conversation. His white-ball numbers are outstanding – he averages over 50 in Twenty20 and one-dayers for Pakistan – yet his Test statistics in recent times provide additional evidence for those keen to argue his case.  

Indeed, his average of 75.9 across his 12 Test knocks since the start of 2019 is the best rate of any batsman to have 10 or more innings during that period. Better than Kohli, despite the India captain piling on the runs at home against South Africa, including a career-best 254 not out. Better even than Smith, whose Ashes heroics last year were so crucial in helping Australia retain the urn on English soil.  

He also sits above the same pairing when it comes to contributing for his team, providing an astonishing 22 per cent of Pakistan’s total Test runs over the period. There is clearly substance to the style now, a determined streak to go with the eye-catching technique.  

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, tipped Babar to become one of the best in the world at the start of the year; he was a little late to get on board a bandwagon that now offers standing room only. 

"I think he is right up there already," Azhar Ali, Pakistan's Test skipper, said on the eve of the series opener with England at Old Trafford. 

"His performances have improved massively in Test matches over the last year or so. Firstly, he was performing really well in white-ball cricket and people thought he was only a white-ball player, but he took on that challenge and played with a lot of freedom and flair.” 

Babar's career totals do not stand up to the sheer volume scored by Kohli, Root, Smith and Williamson - at least not yet. Still, since 2018, he sits above the quartet in terms of Test average (65.5) and strike-rate (63.2 runs per 100 deliveries).

That stretch includes a memorable maiden hundred on home soil. While rain ruined the spectacle of the first Test played in Pakistan for over a decade, Babar brightened up the final day against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi with an unbeaten 102 that delighted the crowd who had patiently waited to see their team return.  

Scores of 60 not out, 100 and 143 followed in the remainder of a truncated series, all from a player who did not reach three figures until his 17th Test. 

Prior to that breakthrough innings against New Zealand in November 2018, Babar had managed an unspectacular 822 runs at 30.4. Since then, though, there have been four more three-figure scores in 10 games, plus a 97 in a losing cause against Australia in Adelaide when no colleagues were willing to stick around in support. 

Pakistan are likely to lean on him heavily again in England, particularly as they come up against a team brimming with fast-bowling options and fresh off a 2-1 series victory over West Indies. 

Babar's development - including a highly productive Cricket World Cup campaign last year on English soil, as well as finishing top run-scorer in the T20 Blast while playing for Somerset - suggests he will relish the challenge.

The head-to-head battle with Root will be one of the main storylines, too. England's captain has much on his plate in the coming weeks, including fathoming out a way to nullify the brilliant Babar, who has stylishly climbed his way into the top tier of international batsmen.

At first glance, Joe Root does not look like the type of batsman that makes for a successful T20 player. Obdurate in the Test arena and the solid anchor sheet in One-Day Internationals, Root doesn’t seem to have the swashbuckling, sometimes even kamikaze-like penchant for attacking bowling that the best proponents of the shortest form of the game seem to possess. But, for some reason, maybe his incredible work ethic has helped him, he has adapted.

Root depends on deft touches and manipulations of the field to accumulate his runs, but his ability to do so is so exquisite that he could hurt a team without ever hitting a six. In fact, Root has only ever hit 16 sixes for England in 32 T20I outings. He has, however, scored five half-centuries in that period and averages above 35. The story is similar in the T20 arena where he has scored nine half-centuries in 20 games at an average of 30 and a half. His strike rate of 126 in international cricket and 125 in T20s isn’t staggering, but it does show remarkable adaptability for a man who strikes at 50 in the Test arena and just 60 in ODIs.

Career Statistics (2011-present)

Full name: Joseph Edward Root

Born: December 30, 1990, Sheffield, Yorkshire (29)

Major teams: England, England Lions, England Under-19s, Sydney Thunder, Yorkshire, Yorkshire 2nd XI, Yorkshire Academy, Yorkshire Under-17s

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak, Legbreak

 

T20I Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS     Ave      BF      SR       100   50     4s      6s    

32       30       5      893      90*   35.72    707   126.30     0      5      92      16   

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs     HS     Ave      BF         SR         100   50    4s     6s     

72         66    13    1619      92*   30.54    1288      125.69      0      9    180    24    

 

Career Highlights

  • 32 T20I caps scoring 893 runs at 35.72
  • 1619 T20 runs at average of 30.54

Captain Joe Root hailed a "phenomenal achievement" from Stuart Broad after the England seamer passed 500 Test wickets in the series-clinching win over West Indies.

The 34-year-old Broad wrapped up England's 269-run victory at Old Trafford by dismissing Jermaine Blackwood, securing a 10-wicket haul in the match.

That was his 501st Test wicket, the landmark having been reached earlier in the day when he pinned Kraigg Brathwaite lbw, as Broad added 4-36 to his first-innings 6-31.

Broad also cracked a rapid 62 with the bat in an important first-innings knock, just as West Indies were disrupting the home side's momentum.

Root commended England on back-to-back Old Trafford wins that he described as "excellent", after the hosts lost the first game at Hampshire's Rose Bowl.

He said the bowling had been outstanding, and Root was delighted with Broad particularly, the 34-year-old having been recalled after being overlooked for that opening defeat.

"For him to come back into the team and over the course of the two games have such an impact is testament to how good a player he has been for England over such a long period of time," Root said on Sky Sports.

"I couldn't be more happy for him to finish off the way it did today. Runs in the first innings, 10 wickets in the game, 500 Test match wickets ... it's a phenomenal achievement.

"It sort of sums Stuart up - he gets on those hot streaks and has real impacts in games. He wants to be a part of those big occasions and I'm really pleased for him to get to that milestone.

"There's so many different occasions - a number of different Ashes series where he's done it, in Johannesburg, with his match-winning spell there, here within this series. He's that sort of guy that really grabs the game and wrestles it in your favour."

Broad and James Anderson were back in tandem, with England's most prolific Test bowlers continuing to set high standards. Only seven bowlers in the history of Test cricket have taken 500 wickets or more, and England currently have two of them within their ranks.

Chris Woakes stepped up in the second innings to take five wickets, and Root sees the influence of England's two bowling talismen rubbing off.

"We're looking at two of England’s best bowlers of all time. I've said it before but we've got to understand how lucky we are to see them going about their business, playing alongside them, seeing them operate day in and day out," Root said.

"It's a real privilege to play alongside both Jimmy and Stuart and hopefully it's going to happen for a lot longer as well."

With Jofra Archer also offering a pace threat, Root believes England are supremely strong in that department.

He said: "You look at the talent that's among those guys and it offers a huge amount, and I feel like they could exploit a lot of different surfaces around the world."

Joe Root recalled Jofra Archer and James Anderson to an England team a batsman light due to Ben Stokes' injury concerns.

England face West Indies in the third and final Test at Old Trafford on Friday needing to win to regain the Wisden Trophy.

As for the second match, Root has altered his attack, although Mark Wood again misses out.

Archer - unable to play last time out after breaching biosecurity protocols - and Anderson are back, meaning Sam Curran makes way.

But with Stokes managing an injury, number three Zak Crawley has also dropped out to get the extra bowler in, seeing the rest of the order shift up.

That batting order was swiftly tested after Windies captain Jason Holder won the toss and, as in the previous match, opted to bowl first.

"We've balanced the side out as best we can and I actually feel like we've got a very good, well balanced team. I'm not worried about that at all," Root said, before quickly finding himself in the middle when Kemar Roach dismissed Dom Sibley lbw for a duck in the first over.

Of Archer's return, the captain added: "Jofra's ready to play. Over the last couple of days, he's got his smile back and bowled with real pace in the nets.

"He knows he's got the full support of the dressing room and the guys around him. We're really looking forward to him getting back out there and showing everyone how talented he is."

On the possibilty of Stokes bowling, Root said: "We'll have to see how things go. We can monitor that as the game progresses. But we have to make sure we look after him as best as possible."

Stokes - now the ICC's top-ranked all-rounder - revealed he had "been better" and was still unsure of the nature of the injury.

He said: "It's going to be a day by day thing. I was a little bit worried I wouldn't be able to offer everything I could with the ball, especially in the first innings."

The Windies have also made a change, meanwhile, bringing in spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for Alzarri Joseph in a match they need only to draw to retain the trophy.

Rain is forecast on four days in Manchester.

Joe Root admits it will be a major test of his captaincy to rein in Ben Stokes and ensure England do not place too great a burden on their talisman.

England are toying with deploying Stokes as a specialist batsman and taking bowling responsibilities off the Durham all-rounder for the series decider against West Indies.

The third Test gets under way on Friday at Old Trafford, the same venue where Stokes' brilliance paved the way for England's 113-run victory in the second match of the series.

Stokes is carrying a niggle that England would hate to become anything more serious, but Root knows just how difficult it will be to prise away any responsibility from the 29-year-old, who scored 254 runs in the previous contest and took three wickets.

"He wants to affect the game. That's the beauty of him," Root said. "He's desperate to be the man to turn things around and to win you the game."

Stokes has the ability to decide matches with bat or ball, but England have a lot of cricket to come in the weeks and months ahead, which is why Root is determined to at least not over-stretch him.

"There were a few occasions where I did check in with him first and second innings [in the second Test] and I said 'I think that’s enough' and he wanted one more [over]," Root said.

"He has matured as a player now and you sometimes have to put trust in a player to tell you when enough's enough.

"I feel like he's in a place where he can do that. That's the sort of commitment that you want to see from senior players and it feeds down into the rest of the group.

"He's definitely okay to play as a batsman. It's just how much of an impact he can have with the ball.

"We want to make sure we get the best out of Ben and I'm sure he wants to ride a wave.

"And it must be quite difficult when you're playing as well as he is to maybe have to rein it back in now and again. It is important that he's looked after."

Should Stokes let others take the bowling strain, it will mean England either going in with one fewer bowling option, or sacrificing a batsman to bring in another seamer.

They have abundant options, with Jofra Archer, James Anderson and Mark Wood vying for places with the pace attack from the second Test: Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran.

Root knows he cannot pick all six, and culling players could be particularly tough, given how close the skipper is to some members of the squad.

"It shouldn't come down to them being your mate or not," Root said. "If guys are upset and annoyed about it, that shows that they care and if they're annoyed with me for a few days then I have to deal with that."

Archer's inclusion in the 14-man squad reflects an eagerness to get back on the field, having been sidelined for the second Test after breaching strict protocol rules between the first Test in Southampton and England's current residency in Manchester by briefly returning to his Hove flat.

Root condemned as "disgusting" the social media abuse that Archer has faced recently, and stressed the Sussex quick has his full backing.

"I've had some good conversations with Jofra. It is important he's in a mentally good enough place to play the game," Root said. "We're all here to support him. I'm very excited to see him smiling and enjoying his cricket."

While understandable attention surrounds Archer, it could yet come down to the tried and tested partnership of Anderson and Broad opening the bowling for England.

"It's exciting to know there's pretty much 1,000 wickets between them and they could be leading the attack," Root said. "They're two of our best cricketers of all time and I feel they've got a lot left in both of them."

Page 1 of 5
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.