Joe Root will return to No. 3 in the batting order in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston. Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, revealed at the end of the Ireland Test on Friday that he was intending to ask Root to move back to No. 3. But it now transpires that Root approached Bayliss before that conversation could take place and suggested the move.
As a consequence, Joe Denly is likely to be moved to No. 4, with Jason Roy and Rory Burns forming the opening partnership. In the longer-term, the England management are clearly taken by the look of Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley as potential openers and see Roy as more suited to No. 4.
Root has not batted at No. 3 - where he averages 40.47 in 40 innings with two centuries and 10 half-centuries - since the fourth Test against India last year. He has never made a secret of his preference to bat at four, where he averages 48.00, but has accepted it would be beneficial to the team to separate a top three of Denly, Burns and Roy who have just 11 Test caps, and no Test centuries, between them.
While no firm decision has yet been made on Jofra Archer's involvement in the first Test, it seems likely he will not be risked until at least the second Test at Lord's. The England management appear reluctant to go into a game with two bowlers on the comeback from injury - James Anderson will be playing his first game since a calf injury - and do not want to risk exacerbating a problem that could then rule Archer out of the rest of the series. He is thought likely to prove particularly valuable of the flatter wickets anticipated in Manchester and at The Oval.
In a perfect world, the England management would like to include what they refer to as a "point of difference" bowler - the likes of left-armer Sam Curran or someone quicker like Archer or Olly Stone - in each of their sides. But at Edgbaston, on a surface that typically provides some assistance to seamers, the likely attack will consist of Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, with Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali in support. All five are right-armers; four of them might broadly be defined as fast-medium in pace.
Only three players attended optional training at Edgbaston on Monday. Anderson looked in fine form, causing Jos Buttler lots of trouble in the nets, while Broad was also in attendance. Archer is understood to have had a bowling session in Brighton.