Root learns a skipper’s stress is unrelenting
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.