Joe Root. (Image Credits: Getty)
England captain Joe Root has urged his players to continue the fighting spirit that helped them draw the fourth Ashes Test. Root lauded his team for showing character after crushing losses in the first three Tests. He has now asked them to replicate the same in the fifth and final Test in Hobart.
The visitors displayed remarkable grit and resilience in the fourth Test in Sydney, pulling off a nail-biting draw in the last hour of day five with one wicket in hand. The tourists batted for 102 overs on the final day, with the last-wicket pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad thwarting Australia for two overs to earn a creditable draw.
Root said that it felt encouraging to see his players show determination to restore their lost pride. The 31-year-old now expects the visitors to play in the same vein from ball one of the day-night Test in Hobart. He was quoted as saying by BT Sport in this regard:
“On the back of three very difficult games where we underperformed, to come back and get something from the last game showed a great amount of character. There was an element of relief, managing to get through those last few overs but the desire, the fight and the pride that everyone showed on that last day is something we have to harness.” “We have to play like that more frequently through the five days, not just on the last day when everything is on the line, but from ball one. We have something to build on; that’s what we have to take from the last game and into this one.”
The right-hander will also be keen to get more runs under his belt to arrest his recent poor form. Root, who accumulated over 1700 runs in 2021, has failed to convert his three half-centuries in the series into three figures. His quest to score a Test century Down Under continues, something he’ll hope to accomplish in Hobart.
“We have to assess how they pull up over the next couple of days” – Joe Root on Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes
Australia vs England – 4th Test: Day 5
Joe Root addressed the injury concerns of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, saying the management will see how they cope in the next two days. The 31-year-old observed that it’s important that they’re fit enough to play five gruelling days of Test cricket, saying:
“We have to assess how they pull up over the next couple of days. Certainly you can pick Ben as a bat, Jonny too. We have to see where they are at, what their bodies can handle. You have to trust the medical advice.” “We need to make sure they are physically in a place where they can get through five days of hard cricket. It’s alright being fit to play, but you’ve got to be fit to perform, and that’s what we’ve got to work out.”
England are certain to make at least one change to their XI in Hobart, with Jos Buttler returning home after sustaining a finger injury. It remains to be seen if they risk Stokes or Bairstow, keeping in mind the upcoming West Indies tour.