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