‘We’ve got that quality as well’
England skipper Joe Root nullifies talk of Australia enjoying the edge for next week’s Brisbane Test
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.