Root learns a skip­per’s stress is un­re­lent­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - ROBERT CRADDOCK

umphant in a Test at Adelaide Oval.

After a slug­gish start by go-to spear­heads Broad and Jimmy An­der­son, a sec­ond rain in­ter­rup­tion halted the rhythm Warner and Ban­croft had started to gar­ner.

Out of nowhere Root got the break­through he so des­per­ately wanted, when Warner and Ban­croft made the fa­tal er­ror of at­tempt­ing a run off a mis­field.

Warner cried yes when Moeen Ali fum­bled in the in­field, but roared no once he re­alised the ball had de­flected al­most per­fectly into the path of Woakes at mid-off.

Ban­croft (10) had no choice but to turn back for home, but Woakes was too good and threw down n the stumps in a fine bit of field­ing.

But the man un­der the most heat was Root, after de­fy­ing ng his­tory to take one of the great t gam­bles. bl

For­mer Test quick Ja­son Gille­spie said that Root had put pres­sure on An­der­son and Broad that they strug­gled to live up to.

“That ac­tu­ally puts them un­der more pres­sure. If you lose the toss and get sent to bowl, it fo­cuses you more,” said Gille­spie.

“[But if you win the toss and bowl] Some­times bowlers get caught up in the end re­sult, which hi h i is th the need d for wick­ets, but not go­ing through the cor­rect process.

“They bowled two feet too short.”

Shane Warne de­clared it one of the worst toss de­ci­sions ever made in Ashes cricket.

“He didn’t get it right at the toss. I’m try­ing to un­der­stand what de­ci­sion process there was to bowl first,” Warne said on Nine.

“I think back to other

Eshoc shock­ers … Nasse Nasser Hus­sain in Brisb Bris­bane in the early 20 2000s and Ricky Ponti Ponting in 2005 when [Michael Vaughan] was laugh­ing at the coin toss.” F For­mer Eng­land l skip­per Vaughan said Eng­land’s body lan­guage was a shock­ing re­sponse to Root’s call. “When you make that de­ci­sion [you need sup­port]. Jimmy An­der­son and Stuey Broad bowled too short,” Vaughan said on Nine. “I haven’t seen enough des­per­a­tion in the body lan­guage from the English side. En­ergy is a key word. They need more ac­tion out there.” IF you hear re­ports of an English crick­eter or two sprint­ing through the streets of Adelaide around mid­night, don’t be alarmed.

Far from breach­ing pro­to­col they might be try­ing to up­hold it.

It’s just that when play was ex­tended to 10.30pm as it was sched­uled to on the first rain­marred day of play, it’s a heck of job to reach your ho­tel room by Eng­land’s re­cently im­posed mid­night cur­few.

The tight turn­around raises all sorts of un­com­fort­able images, such as the team chang­ing into their py­ja­mas in the dress­ing room so they can be ready to hit the sheets en masse be­fore the witch­ing hour.

“Damn you, Jonny Bairstow’’ must be their col­lec­tive thought while cap­tain Joe Root must the think­ing the cur­few sounded a much bet­ter idea in the­ory than it does in prac­tice.

Of course the cur­few will turn to rub­ber dur­ing the Adelaide Test, but the very fact it was ini­tially en­forced has be­come just an­other com­pli­ca­tion and po­ten­tial road­block to the type of team har­mony it was try­ing to re­store.

Root is an in­ter­est­ing study on this tour be­cause he has found out quickly how the el­e­ments can con­spire to add layer upon stress­ful layer of an­guish for tour­ing cap­tains to this coun­try.

Field plac­ings branded neg­a­tive, an off-spin­ner with a crook finger, a banned player prov­ing a daily dis­trac­tion, a head­butt con­tro­versy, sledg­ing wars and yes­ter­day, the big­gest gam­ble of his young cap­taincy ca­reer when he bowled first at the Adelaide Oval in the sec­ond Test.

All these items have thun­dered on to his agenda and the se­ries has barely started.

The stress is un­re­lent­ing. Aus­tralian tours are among the great­est cap­tain killers in in­ter­na­tional cricket.

Nasser Hus­sain, Gra­ham Gooch, Jimmy Adams, Wasim Akram and Sachin Ten­dulkar all had their cap­taincy di­rectly ter­mi­nated or chron­i­cally short­ened after land­slide de­feats in Aus­tralia.

As far as ri­val cap­tains are con­cerned you see boys turn­ing into men overnight and Root is among the most boy­ish look­ing of the lot. If he can tri­umph this se­ries it would be a stun­ning achieve­ment.

Crit­ics were split on the merit of Root’s de­ci­sion to field first.

Adelaide has al­ways been a bat-first venue but Root’s sup­port­ers did not hold this against him, and pointed out it was a sign a man bold enough to chal­lenge con­ven­tion.

And when you play four quicks and an in­jured spin­ner you can un­der­stand him want­ing to snatch an edge in the first in­nings.

But Root did not sound like a cav­a­lier rat­tling his sabre at the toss when he ex­plained that it might give Eng­land the chance at us­ing two new balls in bowler-friendly con­di­tions.

If you bowl first and you are still bowl­ing by the sec­ond ball, chances are the move has failed.

It sen­tenced Eng­land to the long road home.

They will have to face a prob­ing Nathan Lyon in the fourth in­nings and a mul­ti­tude of chal­lenges along the way, a re­minder that noth­ing comes eas­ily in this hos­tile land.

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