England captain Joe Root set for Yorkshire outing

20 April 2017 03:24

Joe Root will play his first innings in England since being appointed Test captain and is slated to bat at three as part of a formidable Yorkshire side eyeing revenge against Hampshire.

Root, named Alastair Cook's successor in February, was not made available for the first two rounds of the Specsavers County Championship by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

That meant he missed the White Rose's defeat to Hampshire in their Division One opener earlier this month.

While his absence was anticipated following a hectic winter representing England in all three formats, Yorkshire were frustrated Jonny Bairstow was kept out of action as he had had a much quieter start to the year.

But their return for the trip to the Ageas Bowl was warmly received by coach Andrew Gale, whose 13-strong squad includes eight men who have played at international level.

Gale confirmed Root will bat at first drop - in place of Australia international Peter Handscomb - despite reports the 26-year-old would prefer to bat a place lower in Tests.

Gale told the club's official website: "To have two guys like that, world-class players right on top of their game, it's going to strengthen us no doubt.

"We have one of the best number threes in the world available, so I'd doubt Peter Handscomb will bat there. He'll come in down the order I'd imagine, and that's a good place to be in as a team."

Bairstow, England's first choice wicketkeeper-batsman in Tests, will take the gloves against Hampshire, who chased down 320 to triumph at Headingley and hand Gary Ballance defeat in his first game in charge of Yorkshire.

Ballance, though, believes his charges will prove a more challenging opposition with Root and Bairstow to call on.

He added: "Hampshire played really well in that fourth innings to win the match, and you've got to give them credit. But we'd like to put in a good performance and reverse that result.

"We have more guys fit now, bowlers wise, and obviously we have Root and Bairstow coming back for this game. They are pretty decent players, aren't they? It has all the makings for a really good game."

Hampshire followed up their Yorkshire victory with a draw against Middlesex.

The defending county champions host an Essex side buoyed by an eight-wicket victory over Somerset, where Cook registered a century in his first match since resigning the England captaincy.

The left-handed opener will again be available for Essex and goes into the Lord's fixture needing 30 to reach 20,000 first-class runs.

James Anderson returns to the Lancashire line-up - having been rested by the England management against Surrey last week - as they take on Somerset at Emirates Old Trafford, where Liam Livingstone will again captain the Red Rose in the absence of the injured Steven Croft.

Warwickshire will look to bounce back from losing their first two games when they welcome Surrey to Edgbaston.

Stuart Broad was another who was controversially rested by England in Nottinghamshire's win over Durham but he will return for their Division Two clash with Sussex at Trent Bridge.

His England team-mate Moeen Ali is scheduled to make his first appearance of the county season when Worcestershire host Northamptonshire at New Road.

Elsewhere, Durham travel to Bristol to take on Gloucestershire, Kent welcome Derbyshire to Canterbury and Leicestershire host Glamorgan at Grace Road.

Source: PA