England today dropped opener Nick Compton from a 13-man squad to face Australia in next week's first Investec Test at Trent Bridge.
The selectors, who have named Graham Onions as an extra pace-bowling option in an otherwise very predictable line-up, telegraphed their intention - in the team they picked last week to face Essex in a warm-up match - to move Joe Root up from number five to open alongside captain Alastair Cook instead of Compton.
The Test match return of Kevin Pietersen, out of action for three months after injuring his knee in New Zealand last month, was also confirmed this afternoon.
Twenty-two-year-old Root will open for the first time in a Test, on Ashes debut, having previously batted exclusively in the middle order for his country.
National selector Geoff Miller was also able to confirm first-choice bowlers Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann are fully-fit for selection for their home Tests after their respective injury scares at Chelmsford.
"We are satisfied with our preparations so far for the first Test, with both Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad recovering well from the injuries they picked up earlier this week," said Miller.
"The squad will continue their hard work over the next few days and will be eagerly anticipating the start of the series on Wednesday at Trent Bridge.
"This is an incredibly exciting period of cricket coming up against Australia, and we know we will need to play to our full potential throughout the entire Investec Ashes Series if we are to retain the Ashes."
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