Nottingham, England: Australia captain Michael Clarke said on Tuesday he was taken aback by England's decision to drop Nick Compton for the first Ashes Test at Nottingham's Trent Bridge.
Compton, grandson of England great Denis, opened in nine consecutive Tests and struck back-to-back hundreds on England's tour of New Zealand earlier this year.
But the Somerset batsman was dropped from England's squad, and so won't feature in the first Test against Australia starting on Thursday, after struggling in the return home series against New Zealand where he managed just 39 runs in four innings.
Instead England have promoted Joe Root to partner captain Alastair Cook in what will be the Yorkshireman's first Test as an opener.
Clarke saw Compton at close quarters in both of Australia's warm-up matches, the batsman making fifties for Somerset and as a 'guest' for Worcestershire.
"We haven't bowled to Joe yet but we didn't manage to get Nick out that easily, so I'm happy he's not playing to be honest," Clarke told reporters at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
"Nick has showed in the last couple of four day matches he has a very good defence and I'm surprised he's not in the team for the first Test," star batsman Clarke added.