Denly faces axe as Joe Root returns to lead England in second Test
England have finally dropped Joe Denly for the second Test against West Indies at Old Trafford following his twin failures in the series opener.
He has been replaced with returning captain Joe Root, whose presence in the lineup is expected to boost England's batting.
Root was unavailable during the home side's four-wicket defeat at Southampton with the batsmen floundering in the first innings in his absence. He now joins the team after the birth of his second child.
Denly's Test struggles have seen his average drop to an abysmal figure of 29.53 from 15 games, attracting the ire of pundits.
His place in the side was further hanging by the thread following teammate Zak Crawley's impressive showing at the Ageas Bowl.
"It's never an easy decision, never easy having to leave someone out," Root told reporters on the eve of the second Test.
"With Joe [Denly] over a period of time he's done a brilliant job for us, he's helped show our identity as a side and how we played moving forward. It's a very difficult decision but we've gone a different way."
"You watch Zak's progression since he's been involved in the team, his game has continued to get stronger," he added.
One of the criticisms directed at Denly involves his inability to convert starts into substantial scores as his shrewd application on the crease has rarely yielded in big totals from him.
"Joe is someone who has done a fantastic job for us over a period of time and he'll be as frustrated as anyone that he's not been able to covert those opportunities," Root stated.
Additionally, England have rested the pace duo of James Anderson and Mark Wood for the clash with Stuart Broad likely to make a comeback.
Broad's omission from the first Test was one of the major talking points as the express pace of Wood and Jofra Archer did not pay dividends for the hosts.
England squad: Joe Root (c, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes