Root relaxed about return to No. 6
Unfussy, unfazed and uninterested in speculating, England No. 6 Joe Root sounds a lot like England opener Joe Root did during the northern summer. However the captain, Alastair Cook, and the team director, Andy Flower, will be hoping for a decidedly different outcome in terms of runs scored and partnerships established, having sent the young Yorkshireman down the order and replaced him with the older Michael Carberry.
Root made 75 in his first extended innings in the new role during the tourists' seven-wicket victory over an Invitational XI at the SCG and, according to most observers, looked the part. These included the former Australia Test opener Ed Cowan, who reckoned that Root will be better for the "baptism of fire" he received at the hands of Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and others in the earlier Ashes bout. Root, who will not admit to any pangs of irritation about the move, agrees.
"I'm not that egotistical really, I just want to represent England," Root said. "To get the opportunity to do that down the order is a different challenge to last summer but one that I'm really looking forward to. The basics are pretty similar, there's still a guy 22 yards away bowling a ball at you. You just need to make sure you manage the situation well and try to score as many runs as possible.
"I definitely learned a lot from [opening], I've got a lot of things out of it, and parts of my game I've worked hard on from last summer. Hopefully I can keep improving on those and become a better player for it. This week was about getting used to the role again, getting out there and trying to score runs and make sure my game's in good order."
Carberry concluded a persuasive trio of matches by punching his way to 50 in England's successful chase on the final afternoon. If he looked ungainly at times against the legspin of James Muirhead, there was solace in the thought that it is pace rather than wrist spin that will provide the greater challenge in Brisbane.
"If you look at Michael Carberry's tour so far he's played exceptionally well and scored a huge amount of runs," Root said. "It's hard to ignore that and it's great to see, everyone putting on strong performances and putting us in a good position going into next week. He's a very experienced player, he's very relaxed, a calming influence and he knows his game really well. As far as the team's concerned it's very exciting.
"A lot of the lads have got some big scores with the bat and especially this week bowlers have done well, picking up wickets and bowling good spells in partnerships. Everyone's in good spirits, we won as well, which is important to take that momentum into next week and hopefully we can start the series with a bang."
The only moment of worry for Root in Sydney was when the left-arm seamer Josh Lalor struck him a painful blow on the little finger, a digit already strapped due to an injury sustained before the previous Ashes series. X-rays came back clear and Root felt sure his hand would not discomfort him too much in Brisbane, even if it does not look a picture of health.
"I've got a bit of a plastic hand at the minute, made of bandages, but I'll be absolutely fine," he said. "It's something I did last summer and managed to play through it all summer, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. It did for a little bit, every time you get hit you worry about it slightly, but I had an X-ray and everything's fine."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here