Denly has been lucky to sur­vive so long – he must know it is over

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport -

If Joe Root goes up to Joe Denly this week and tells him he is play­ing in the sec­ond Test he will be more sur­prised than any­one else. Denly must know it is over. He has played 15 Tests and had a huge op­por­tu­nity to es­tab­lish him­self in the team.

As a top-or­der player you have to have scored one or two hun­dreds by then. You can­not be av­er­ag­ing un­der 30 or get­ting out be­tween 10-39 18 times like Denly has.

His prob­lem has not been get­ting in. It has been get­ting in but then get­ting out. That tells you he is not quite good enough, men­tally and tech­ni­cally. He has a fault with the ball nip­ping back. He has to go.

At 34 years old you could ar­gue he is the luck­i­est Eng­land bats­man over the past 15 years be­cause he has had so many chances. There have been many who have not had 15 Tests. Guys such as Adam Lyth, Sam Rob­son, Alex Hales, Ja­son Roy, Tom West­ley, Michael Car­berry and Mark Stone­man did not get the lux­ury of 15 Tests.

It means that Denly can­not have any griev­ances when told he is not in the side for the next Test, es­pe­cially as Eng­land have a 22-year-old in Zak Craw­ley who has played so well. Eng­land have to buy in to him and give him a run.

He can bat any­where in the top four. He was un­der pres­sure in the sec­ond in­nings be­cause of both the sit­u­a­tion of the match and his own sta­tus in the side, but he played with a free­dom that was so en­cour­ag­ing.

To dance down the wicket to hit the spin­ner over the top, play re­verse sweeps and take on the seam­ers made him look a high-class player who could be around for a long time.

Dom Si­b­ley played OK in the sec­ond in­nings, but it is all about im­prov­ing at this level when the op­po­si­tion find you out. He will have to find op­tions against spin­ners. He can­not just sit in and flick on the on side.

I would ad­vise him to bring in a sweep shot or use his feet to be a bit busier against the spin so he can ro­tate the strike. His weak­ness down the leg side is glar­ing. When it hap­pens the first time you call it un­lucky, but for it to keep hap­pen­ing shows a tech­ni­cal weak­ness that needs rec­ti­fy­ing.

It is hard be­ing his part­ner be­cause you know you will never get the strike, so that is an area he can im­prove.

The frus­tra­tion watch­ing Jos But­tler is that he pro­duced a good, bal­anced first in­nings when he chose the right balls to attack. That has to be what he locks in his mem­ory and brings out on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. He does not have to

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