‘We’ve got that qual­ity as well’

England skip­per Joe Root nul­li­fies talk of Aus­tralia en­joy­ing the edge for next week’s Bris­bane Test

Mid Day - - SPORT -

Al­ready through to the main tour­na­ment, In­dia played out a 2-2 draw against Myan­mar in the re­turn-leg match of the AFC Asian Cup qual­i­fy­ing Group ‘A’ match here yes­ter­day.

The home side came back twice in the match to hold the vis­it­ing side and con­tinue their un­beaten streak in 13 matches.

Myan­mar scored through Yan Naing Oo (1st minute) and Kyaw Ko Ko (19th) while Su­nil Ch­hetri (12th; penalty) and Jeje Lalpekhlua (69th) found the tar­get at the Nehru Sta­dium here.

In­dia had beaten Myan­mar 1-0 in the first leg in Yangon in March through a Ch­hetri win­ner.

With yes­ter­day’s draw, In­dia are on the top of the group with 13 points from five matches. Myan­mar are placed sec­ond with five points from four matches. In­dia have al­ready qual­i­fied for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in UAE af­ter beat­ing Ma­cau 4-1 in Ban­ga­lore last month.

True to cap­tain Ch­hetri’s words that Myan­mar were a tough side, the vis­i­tors scored as early as the first minute be­fore the home team de­fence could set­tle down.

A quick build up on the left saw Thein Than run down the left flank and send a per­fect cross into the box for Yan Naing Oo to head in to put the home team un­der early pres­sure.

In­dia’s de­fence was shaken by the early goal and nearly con­ceded an­other two min­utes later but Kyaw Ko Ko shot straight to goalie Gur­preet Singh Sandhu. In­dia took time to set­tle down and earned a penalty in the 12th minute when Heaing Bo Bo brought down Ch­hetri in­side the box. Ch­hetri him­self took the penalty and made no mis­take in find­ing the net.

Joe Root be­lieves his England team is wiser than the one ‘caught out’ by the hype and then white­washed 5-0 in Aus­tralia on his last Ashes visit.

The England cap­tain was still a rel­a­tive novice Test bats­man four years ago, and ended his maiden tour down un­der by los­ing his place for the fi­nal de­feat in Syd­ney.

This time, he is de­ter­mined there will be no re­peat — and has be­gun by set­ting a much dif­fer­ent tone, in­sist­ing England will not be sucked into the height­en­ing war of words be­fore a ball is bowled in anger.

As Root pre­pares for a fi­nal warm-up match against a Cricket Aus­tralia XI in Townsville, he con­sid­ered his re­sponse care­fully to re­ports that the hosts’ fast bowler Pat Cum­mins wants to put the ‘fear’ in England once the first Test gets un­der way in Bris­bane next week.

‘Don’t fear Oz’

“Fear is not the right word... re­spect prob­a­bly is,” said Root. “They have a lot of qual­ity in their at­tack, but we have lots of qual­ity in our side too.

“Those are the words that will be fly­ing around our dress­ing room.”

England ex­pect to have both James An­der­son and Jake Ball for the Gabba. Their all-time lead­ing wicket-taker was never sched­uled to take on the CA XI again, so it was not yet any con­cern that he was ‘a bit un­der the weather’ yes­ter­day and missed prac­tice at the Tony Ire­land Sta­dium. Ball, mean­while, is set to start run­ning again from to­day as he re­cov­ers from his an­kle strain.

It was not fit­ness is­sues which dom­i­nated Root’s press con­fer­ence, but in­stead the hot air, which is gath­er­ing a head of steam here. Aus­tralia opener David Warner spoke sev­eral weeks ago of ‘war’ and ‘ha­tred’ on the pitch this win­ter. Root told the BBC’s Test Match Spe­cial: “There’s been a lot of talk, some of it ex­cit­ing and some of it a load of


In­dia skip­per Su­nil Ch­hetri (in blue) heads the ball dur­ing the AFC Asian Cup Qual­i­fier at Nehru Sta­dium in Goa yes­ter­day.


England cap­tain Joe Root speaks to the me­dia in Townsville yes­ter­day. The first Test kicks off in Bris­bane on Nov 23.

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