London - Nick Compton's hopes of starting for England in the first Ashes test against Australia have been dented after he was left out of the national team's 14-man squad for a four-day warm-up match against county side Essex.
Instead, Joe Root will move up the order and open the batting alongside captain Alastair Cook, a major hint as to the selectors' thought ahead of the first test at Trent Bridge starting July 10.
National selector Geoff Miller says "we believe Joe Root is currently the best opening partner for Alastair Cook."
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Kevin Pietersen was included in the squad after making a successful return from a knee injury, scoring 177 not out in a County Championship match for Surrey on Sunday. Graeme Swann has been nursing a calf injury but was called up.
The warm-up match against Essex starts Sunday.