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