‘Aussies close to vul­ner­a­bil­ity for Ashes’

Sunderland Echo - - Racing -

Michael Vaughan be­lieves favourites Aus­tralia could still only be one in­jury away from Ashes se­ries “vul­ner­a­bil­ity”.

For­mer Eng­land cap­tain Vaughan in­sists that Joe Root’s tourists could yet shake off all their preAshes prob­lems and claim an un­likely se­ries win, if in­juries play their part.

Eng­land will step into the caul­dron of an open­ing Ashes Test in Bris­bane on Novem­ber 23, with Vaughan claim­ing that the tourists’ se­nior stars have to step up for Root’s side to stand any chance of vic­tory.

“Aus­tralia are favourites on their home soil, but they are car­ry­ing peo­ple too,” said Vaughan. “They are one in­jury away from be­ing very vul­ner­a­ble.

“You have two out­stand­ing play­ers in Smith and Warner. Around them you have vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

“They don’t have the en­gine room of Eng­land but then again that en­gine room doesn’t have a lot of suc­cess be­hind it in con­di­tions like they’ll find in Aus­tralia.”

James Vince has been drafted in as Eng­land seek ex­tra front­line bat­ting bal­ance, with the 26-year-old hav­ing been in the Test wilder­ness since his last ap­pear­ance in Au­gust 2016.

Vaughan be­lieves the Hamp­shire star must now seize would could well prove his last chance to prove his Test match class.

“James Vince should look at this as an op­por­tu­nity that would not come,” said Vaughan, speak­ing on be­half of BT Sport.

“Around Au­gust time, he was sign­ing con­tracts, a Big Bash con­tract, he’d signed in the South African league and was prob­a­bly look­ing at the Pak­istan Su­per League.

“His mind­set was away from Eng­land’s Test match for­tunes. He has been given a chance. Some­times that chance comes un­ex­pect­edly and you take it. This is the one chance he’s got.

“Cook and Root, within the bat­ting unit, are go­ing to be cru­cial to how Eng­land play. It will come down to that se­nior group of seven – Cook, Bairstow, Ali, Woakes, An­der­son, Broad and Root – to per­form.

“It would be wrong not to fo­cus on them and say ‘come on, lads, it’s our week this week. We can’t be re­liant on the four rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers this week. We will try to drag them along but it’s down to us seven’.”

Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root is a week away from the first Test

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