England are determined to keep their faith with Jos Buttler despite losing to the West Indies in the first Test of the three-match series, but the time could be for Joe Denly.
Captain Joe Root is expected to return for the second Test starting on Thursday at Old Trafford after missing a four-wicket win in Southampton to attend the birth of his second child.
England voters have big decisions to make after losing a game with a bat and not with a ball despite the Stuart Broad controversy.
An under-par 204 in the first innings and a five-wicket loss in 30 runs on the fourth night set the stage for the visitors to take the blood first.
Denly and Buttler were involved in both passages and found themselves under pressure from their respective territories – the previous one being crushed by Root’s return and a fine from Zak Crawley 76 on Saturday, the last from Slayy gloveman Ben Foakes.
England coach Chris Silverwood has given a strong guarantee in one of the duos.
Buttler has a test rating of only 23.22 since the start of 2019 and is now only a handful of 75 innings.
“I’m not going to be depressed on that road right now, because I don’t think that will help him,” Silverwood said. “First and foremost we want to give Joshua a good chance of success.
“But I’m sure you’re asking the same questions. He looked bright entering the game, in training and everything and he looked very good in the first innings. You just need to go and do those big schools now, right? You know that.
“In our view, it’s just a matter of feeling confident about the environment.”
It looks like it will change the order high, however, when knocked down by Denly 18 and 29 he does little to show that he can bring his performance to the required level of three long-term test numbers.
At just 22, Crawley was Denley’s 12-year-old and by scoring England’s top scorer in a strong situation in the second innings he was seen holding the shirt holder without hesitation.
“We all want to see Joe do really well. We can see that he is working hard, training hard and being a great prostitute, which is why we have all seen him do well, ”said Silverwood.
“But obviously you are a little stressed out, yes. Zak is constantly improving. I think he really showed maturity and the innings he played were very good.
“We have some young players in that team who seem to have good heads on their shoulders, and you are one of them. That’s what we want. ”