England hand Nick Compton the chance to cement place as Ashes opener

 

Queenstown

England made a decisive selection judgement for the future last night by overlooking Joe Root's claims as opening batsman. Instead, they kept faith with Nick Compton for their only warm-up match on the Test tour of New Zealand.

He scored 17 against a New Zealand XI before edging a bouncing ball to the keeper. Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen were also dismissed before lunch when England were 98 for 3 with the captain, Alastair Cook, unbeaten on 50.

Such has been Root's progress in the past two months – and so obvious has it seemed that he is destined to be an international opener – that it seemed his moment might already have come. But the selectors understandably erred on the side of caution.

Root was picked at No 6 in the side, the place he occupied on his surprising Test debut in Nagpur last December. The composition of the side has repercussions not only for the series against New Zealand, which begins next week, but also for the Ashes this summer.

They seem to have decided that the berth alongside Cook at the top of the order is Compton's to lose. It would have been harsh to overlook him after the manner in which he applied himself during the series against India but sometimes selectors have to make tough calls.

Compton was far from a failure in India but neither was he an unfettered success. Of his eight innings he scored at least 29 in five of them but never went beyond 57.

It is perhaps his destiny to suffer unfair comparisons with his grandfather, Denis, one of the icons of the English game. Compton senior he is not, and the limitations of his batting would be seen in India.

But Compton has boundless patience and his elevation to the Test side is seen as a commendation for the county game. It was a sequence of large innings for Somerset early last season that saw him elevated into the Test reckoning for the first time at the age of 29.

It is difficult to see him as an Ashes hero but England appear to have given him every opportunity to stake his claim. With five Tests against New Zealand – three away and two at home – he would favour his chances of making a breakthrough score.

Root will hardly mind for the moment. Only 22 years of age, he has had an astonishing rise in the last few weeks. It is not simply the number of runs he has made, but the way he has made them.

He has looked entirely at home in international cricket in a way that few players down the years have done. He made a composed 73 on his Test debut in Nagpur, when he was called into the team at the last moment after carrying drinks as 12th man all tour.

In some quarters it was seen as mildly surprising when Compton was given the first chance to open at the start of the India tour. The thinking was that if Root was the future he may as well start now. Since his Test debut Root has become a fixture in the one-day side and after seven innings has an average of 81.50 with three fifties. His ability to assess the conditions and play accordingly has set him apart.

The top six chosen for the match which started last night seem certain to play in the first Test next week. England, however, rested two of their in-form fast bowlers, Jimmy Anderson and Steve Finn. Chris Woakes and Graham Onions were picked, partly as insurance should they be needed in the Tests in the case of injury.

Queenstown details

England XI A N Cook (capt), N R D Compton, I J L Trott, K P Pietersen, I R Bell, J E Root, M J Prior†, C R Woakes, S C J Broad, G P Swann, G Onions

Play started last night, New Zealand XI won the toss and elected to field.

Game is a four-day match.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence