Ashes: Root DEFENDS decisions to bat first AND omit Anderson and Broad

Joe Root DEFENDS his decisions to bat first AND omit James Anderson and Stuart Broad from the first Ashes Test in Brisbane after England’s underwhelming nine-wicket defeat by Australia at the Gabba

  • England began day four with outside chance of setting Australia tricky chase 
  • But Joe Root’s men lost their last eight wickets for just 74 runs before lunch 
  • The hosts then knocked off a target of 20 for the loss of just one wicket 
  • But Root he insisted he would repeat move to bat first if he had his time again 

Joe Root defended England’s controversial selections, as well as his decision to bat first, after his side began their Ashes campaign with an underwhelming nine-wicket defeat at the Gabba.

England had begun the fourth morning of the first Test in Brisbane with an outside chance of setting Australia a tricky fourth-innings chase – only to lose their last eight wickets for 74 before lunch. 

The hosts then knocked off a target of 20 for the loss of one wicket, and will take a 1-0 lead to Thursday’s second Test, a day/night, pink-ball affair at Adelaide.

Joe Root defended England’s controversial selections, as well as his decision to bat first, following their defeat in the first Ashes Test

Ben Stokes was one of eight wickets England lost for just 74 runs before lunch on day four

The result left Root facing awkward questions about the decision to omit both Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, and to bat in ideal seam-bowling conditions after winning the toss – a move he insisted he would repeat if he had his time again.

‘I think batting first was the right decision,’ said Root, who is still searching for his first Test hundred in Australia after he was caught behind off Cameron Green for 89.

‘Being 40 for four makes it not look like it’s the case, and credit to Australia for exploiting those conditions. But it did dink, it did quicken up and we showed that we could create chances on that second day. And as you saw today, it did start misbehaving a little bit more.

‘If we had got even 250 in that first innings, the game looks very different. So, no, I look back at the toss and I think I would do the same thing. Speaking to Pat, he would have done the same thing as well.’

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The hosts then knocked off a target of 20 for the loss of one wicket to take a 1-0 series lead

The result left Root facing awkward questions about the decision to omit both Jimmy Anderson (R) and Stuart Broad (L)

As for the absence of Anderson, Root pointed to the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2019, when England’s leading Test wicket-taker left the field injured after bowling only four overs, and didn’t play again all series.

And he defended the non-selection of Broad, England’s second-leading wicket-taker, by insisting he wanted a ‘balanced attack’ provided by the left-arm spin of Jack Leach, whose 13 overs ended up costing 102.

‘I wanted to be able to change the momentum of the game and we went with the spinner,’ said Root. ‘Credit to Australia, they took on Leachy. He had to bowl on that wicket at its worst.

‘But I probably put quite a lot of that on myself, by being slightly too aggressive with his fields early on. It didn’t let him get into the game, and made it very difficult for him from that point onwards. So, it’s probably more on my shoulders there and how I managed him.’

Root (L) insisted he wanted a ‘balanced attack’ provided by the left-arm spin of Jack Leach (R)

Root, though, did admit it was ‘bitterly disappointing’ that England had been unable to turn their overnight 220 for two into anything more substantial than 297, and sounded desperate to ensure this Ashes tour does not follow the pattern of the last two, when thrashings at Brisbane have translated into 5-0 and 4-0 series defeats.

‘That’s enough of a motivation for us as a squad as much as anything, to make sure that isn’t the case,’ he said. ‘As you’ve seen in recent years, this team has general responded to difficult defeats with some strong results. We’ll have to do exactly the same on this tour.

‘If we go about things exactly as we have on the last two tours, we’re going to get the same results. We have to be brave, we have to look to do things differently.’




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