Michael Vaughan on why Root needs his team’s help

Cap­tain must fig­ure out how to in­spire Eng­land to cut out er­rors and play the way he wants

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - MICHAEL VAUGHAN

The trick of cap­taincy is to con­vince the team to play your way, and it looks like Joe Root has a job on his hands to per­suade the Eng­land play­ers to fol­low his lead. Joe will find out an aw­ful lot about his play­ers on this tour.

He is only nine games into the job, and we have to re­mem­ber he has a lot to learn about cap­taincy.

But the frus­tra­tion with this team is that they have to be cor­nered, and in a tight sit­u­a­tion, be­fore they re­spond.

Eng­land win­ning out here with­out Ben Stokes was al­ways go­ing to be a huge moun­tain to climb. In Ade­laide, the con­di­tions were English, rather than Aus­tralian, yet they were still beaten, and quite com­fort­ably so, in the end.

For Eng­land not to lose 5-0, Joe and his team will have to pull off some­thing spec­tac­u­lar. This Test was their big chance.

If they could not take 20 wick­ets here when the ball was mov­ing around, where will they do it? Where are they go­ing to make the big scores?

Joe will be feel­ing the pres­sure. Cap­taincy is a lonely place. Steve Smith would have had a cou­ple of sleep­less nights dur­ing this Test, Joe three or four won­der­ing if he messed up over bowl­ing first.

He has also been very open about his prob­lem of con­vert­ing fifties into hun­dreds. The more he wor­ries about it, the less chance he has of im­prov­ing it. He can­not think about it, he just has to play.

My ad­vice is that when he reaches 50, he should walk away, look at the score­board and pre­tend he is on nought. It is hard when you fall in a trough, get­ting out cer­tain ways or for cer­tain num­bers. He has just got to clear his head of the score­board.

He should be pleased with the way he played in the sec­ond in­nings. His old move­ments came back. In the first in­nings, he was out lean­ing back with his head fall­ing over to the off side and try­ing to hit the ball too hard.

In the sec­ond in­nings, he had his old fight back in him and his body lan­guage was strong. Eng­land can only com­pete with big hun­dreds from him and Alas­tair Cook.

I did not have a prob­lem with Joe’s de­ci­sion to bowl af­ter win­ning the toss on the first

morn­ing, but Eng­land then bowled too short. This is Joe’s task. He went for the pos­i­tive, at­tack­ing op­tion but his bowlers did not buy into it with their lengths.

The bats­men then took too many risks in the first in­nings. Joe’s job is to get the bowlers to take risks with their lengths and the bats­men to min­imise risks.

Eng­land never gave the ball a chance to hoop around af­ter win­ning the toss.

I can un­der­stand if you are bowl­ing to the likes of Matthew Hay­den and Adam Gilchrist, who were so de­struc­tive on the front foot, that you might play it safe with lengths and worry about be­ing blasted.

But David Warner is the only bats­man in this Aus­tralian side ca­pa­ble of be­ing so pow­er­ful on the front foot. There was no ex­cuse for Eng­land to bowl safe and short. In the sec­ond in­nings, af­ter they had been crit­i­cised and gifted a route back into the Test, they came out with bet­ter in­tent and at­ti­tude. The re­sult was they bowled Aus­tralia out cheaply.

At this level, you need that men­tal­ity all the time. Bowlers have to be will­ing to risk their length.

Aus­tralia scored only 11 runs down the ground on day one out of 209. That tells you all you need to know about the length Eng­land were bowl­ing.

Eng­land were fre­netic when they bat­ted in the first in­nings. This is a team who can­not cope when they take guard in their first in­nings and the op­po­si­tion al­ready have a big num­ber on the board.

Over the past two years, when Eng­land have bat­ted first, they av­er­age 400 with 18 cen­turies. When they bat sec­ond, they av­er­age 262 with one hun­dred.

I want to know why they are so poor when they bat sec­ond. It can only be a men­tal thing. They seem to go to gears three and four far too quickly.

It is not as if they have been on the wrong end of the con­di­tions in this series. They had per­fect bat­ting con­di­tions in Bris­bane both times and they started their in­nings twice in the day time in Ade­laide. When the lights came on in the sec­ond in­nings, the ball was 44 overs old.

One small change that could help is mov­ing James Vince down to five and Dawid Malan up to three.

That would al­low Vince to play shots against the older ball and Malan to dig in early on.

One last thing. I won­der why it takes Eng­land to be forced into a cor­ner and crit­i­cised be­fore they start to play prop­erly.

Joe must won­der, too – it will be driv­ing him mad.

Joe’s job is to get the bowlers to take risks and the bats­men to min­imise risks

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