Root: Ballance looks a completely different player

Posted July 06, 2017

For all the positivity surrounding his coronation in February, when he was hailed as the only credible candidate to succeed Alastair Cook, Root's first squad has received a mixed reception, with doubts over whether it will deliver the "bold and brave" brand of cricket demanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The Yorkshireman has obviously been one of the standout stars of the team in recent times and he'll now be relishing the extra responsibility that the captaincy brings.

"I got through the Lord's final with no problems and bowled on Wednesday and Friday before that with no pain", said Broad.

Ballance returns to the global stage after being absent since last October and will come in at the fall of the first wicket, with Joe Root dropping down a place to number four in his first Test as captain and Jonny Bairstow at five.

Unsurprisingly it's Root (Price Boosted to 3/1 from 5/2) and his predecessor Alastair Cook (3/1) vying for favouritism in the top England first innings runscorer market and it's not hard to see why.

'I am sure he is desperate to make his mark and to establish himself once again in the team. However, former England skipper Nasser Hussain believes that the absence of de Villiers will hurt the Proteas in the upcoming series.

In fact one Sky Bet special for the first Test that catches my eye is for Root to score a century in the match and England to win at 6/1. Cook remains in the team as opener, while Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones looks likely to make his debut on his home ground in the absence of the injured Chris Woakes and Jake Ball.

Fever-Tree introduces Perfect Pairings, a new video series created to explore great partnerships in the game, with the first being contemporary England duo Alastair Cook and Joe Root. "It was great to have the intensity of a Lord's final, to play in it but also to put my body to the test".