Root ex­pects to be chal­lenged

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - RUS­SELL GOULD

FEAR is not in the English team’s vo­cab­u­lary de­spite threats of an on­slaught from the Aus­tralian pace at­tack at the Gabba next week.

As his team looks for runs in its final warm-up match in Townsville start­ing to­day, Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root said his men had “got their heads around” what was go­ing to come their way in Bris­bane.

Aussie quick Pat Cum­mins de­clared he, Mitch Starc and Josh Ha­zle­wood had spo­ken about be­ing “in the face” of the tourists and “ag­gres­sive” from ball one.

But Root said his bats­men did not fear the chal­lenge.

“I’m not sure those will be the words flying around our dress­ing room. These are the sort of state­ments you ex­pect a week out from the start of an Ashes series,” he said.

“Last time that maybe caught us out, but we are a bit wiser to it this time around.”

Eng­land looks to have set­tled on its bat­ting line-up for the first Test, with Gary Bal­lance left out of the team to play a Cricket Aus­tralia XI in the four-day game of the tour.

It means Mark Stone­man will likely open with Alas­tair Cook, with Dawid Malan and James Vince in the top six with Root and Jonny Bairstow.

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