England captain Joe Root has made no secret of his pleasure at returning to No.4 in the Test team’s batting line-up having been turned to to fill the void up the order at three.
As Gary Ballance, Tom Westley and James Vince struggled to grip the position as their own, Ed Smith began his tenure as national selector with moving Root up the order at the top of his to-do list.
Averaging 31.10 this summer, Root shifted back to his preferred spot after Moeen Ali’s starring performance for Worcestershire against Yorkshire, which saw him score 219 and take eight wickets, saw him score recalled to the Test fold.
Reaching his half-century in the first innings of the Oval Test, Ali’s place in the side for the winter tour of Sri Lanka rests on the opportunity to bat above Root.
“The beauty of me going up to number three was I found out my preferred position is at number four. It’s important we can build around that now and I can get the best out of myself in that position,” Root explained to Sky Sports.
“He’s given himself the best opportunity that’s for sure,” Root said of Moeen Ali’s play in the India series. “All he can do is continue to work hard, keep playing as he has.
“To perform like that coming back from and England Test series and the expectation there it just shows the class of the player.
Ed Smith and his scouting network are expected to watch the remaining matches of the County Championship before naming the side for the tour within a fortnights’ time.