‘Wiser’ Eng­land up for Aus­tralia

The New Age (Northern Cape) - - SPORT -

ENG­LAND were caught out by Aus­tralia’s ag­gres­sion dur­ing the ill-fated 2013-14 Ashes cam­paign but cap­tain Joe Root said they were fully pre­pared for short­pitched bowl­ing and on­field chat­ter when the se­ries kicks off in Bris­bane next week.

Root was a mem­ber of Alas­tair Cook’s side that was de­mol­ished by a Mitchell John­son-led pace as­sault and sledged re­lent­lessly through­out the 5-0 se­ries de­feat four years ago.

Root, then 22, won praise for a de­fi­ant half-cen­tury in the Ade­laide test but like the rest of the Eng­land bat­ters strug­gled to score runs on most of Aus­tralia’s pitches. “I think last time it maybe caught us out,” he said.

“We’re a lit­tle bit wiser to it this time around. It’s still about mak­ing sure we’re ab­so­lutely pre­pared for any sce­nario.

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

“Hope­fully we’ll be re­ally ready for that be­cause I think we’ve got our heads round what to ex­pect.”

With all­rounder Ben Stokes ab­sent from the tour, Root will have a big­ger load to carry in lead­ing a team with a num­ber of in­ex­pe­ri­enced bats­men.

Aus­tralia spin­ner Nathan Lyon said last week the home side’s bowlers would com­pete fiercely for the Eng­land cap­tain’s wicket. Root was un­fazed by the at­ten­tion.

“I’ve heard a lot of chat about them tar­get­ing me in par­tic­u­lar,” he said.

“From our point of view we’ll be tar­get­ing ev­ery sin­gle one of them, we won’t be sin­gling any guys out.

“Bring it on. It’s what it’s about. You want that com­pet­i­tive el­e­ment and those lit­tle in-house ri­val­ries, if you like.”

For­mer Eng­land cap­tain and me­dia pun­dit Michael Vaughan has ac­cused Aus­tralia of mak­ing things hard for Eng­land in their prepa­ra­tions by serv­ing up low qual­ity tour sides away from the test venues.

The tourists will play an­other mod­est Cricket Aus­tralia XI in the re­mote north­ern city of Townsville from to­day.

Root said it was noth­ing dif­fer­ent from the last tour.

“I think we’ve men­tally ap­proached that slightly dif­fer­ently this time round and prob­a­bly slightly bet­ter, if I’m be­ing bru­tally hon­est,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously it would have been nice to get a feel for the grounds, es­pe­cially for the guys who haven’t played at those venues. I don’t think it makes too much of a dif­fer­ence.”

PIC­TURE: AFP

ALL READY: Eng­land’s Joe Root will lead in­ex­pe­ri­enced bats­men.

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