Weather dic­tates terms

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER trent. slatter@ news. com. au

ENG­LAND cap­tain Joe Root feels his side is bet­ter equipped to han­dle ad­ver­sity this sum­mer as rain and in­jury threaten to put a damper on their fi­nal Ashes prepa­ra­tions in Townsville.

The tourists are hop­ing to ac­cli­ma­tise to the Queens­land hu­mid­ity ahead of next week’s open­ing Test at the Gabba with a four- day match against a Cricket Aus­tralia XI start­ing today.

But they re­ceived a de­cid­edly more English wel­come at River­way Sta­dium yes­ter­day as their field­ing drills had to be cut short when heavy rain fell across the ground.

Eng­land’s bowl­ing stocks have also taken a hit af­ter los­ing Steven Finn ( knee) while pace spear­head Jimmy An­der­son ( ill­ness) and young­ster Jake Ball ( an­kle) won’t play in Townsville.

Ad­just­ing to the Aussie con­di­tions will be cru­cial given Eng­land’s last Ashes tour ended in a 5- 0 white­wash, but Root was con­fi­dent they can make the most of their fi­nal hitout.

“I think one thing you get from here is the heat. I mean, it might be rain­ing, but it is still quite warm and hu­mid. There might be an el­e­ment of that in Bris­bane,” Root said.

“We’ve just got to make the most of four days of hard cricket. We’ve got to make sure we get the best out of that and get the best out of our­selves lead­ing into that first game.

“There’s cer­tain things you can do your­selves and as a side to get ready, but in terms of the weather there’s not re­ally much you can do.

“You’ve just got to get on with it, make the most of your chances when you get them, and when we do get out on the field this week we’ll re­ally knuckle down and do what we do best.”

Aus­tralia’s pace at­tack has al­ready put the heat on Eng­land’s in­ex­pe­ri­enced bat­ting line- up, with the likes of Mark Stone­man, James Vince and Dawid Malan play­ing in their first Ashes tour.

How­ever, Root said that war of words was noth­ing new and he was con­fi­dent Eng­land wouldn’t be caught out by a fired- up Aus­tralian side look­ing to re­claim the urn on home soil.

“That’s al­ways the talk. I think last time that maybe caught us out, ( but) I think we’re a lit­tle bit wiser to it this time around,” Root said.

“It’s still mak­ing sure that we’re ab­so­lutely pre­pared for any sce­nario out there and we’re do­ing all the work we can in the nets to be ready for that first game and what­ever they do throw at us.

“We’re ex­pect­ing it to be hos­tile and we’re ex­pect­ing it to be a very loud and rowdy at­mos­phere at the Gabba.

“Hope­fully we’ll be in a re­ally good place and re­ally ready for that be­cause I think we’ve got our heads around what to ex­pect.

“It’s just mak­ing sure that we do ev­ery­thing we can to feel ready in terms of the bat and the ball and go­ing out there and de­liv­er­ing.”

The English­men have en­joyed them­selves off the field, with Root still sport­ing a few bruises from paint­ball on Mon­day, and the skip­per be­lieved his side was in a good place men­tally.

“We’ve had a great trip. We re­ally en­joyed get­ting out there and hav­ing a bit of fun do­ing some­thing slightly dif­fer­ent as a group,” he said.

“I think it’s im­por­tant to en­joy the tour. It’s ob­vi­ously a long time out here and it’s a great coun­try so why wouldn’t you ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent parts of it.”

Pic­tures: ZAK SIM­MONDS

WARM- UP English cap­tain Joe Root ( left) and Cricket Aus­tralia XI bowlerGurinder Sandhu ( right).

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