The Ashes 2013-14 December 1, 2013

Bring on the bouncers - Root

28

Joe Root has batted at No. 3 in Adelaide before. Three summers ago, at Woodville Oval, he walked in at the fall of the first wicket for Prospect's A grade side, and nudged his way to 14 and 52 in a first-innings victory for the hosts.

Though a Woodville bowling attack including Chadd Sayers, Ken Skewes and Kyron Burgess suffers considerably by comparison to Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle, the apprenticeship in Adelaide grade cricket played a major role in sculpting Root's technique and temperament. It will become more valuable than ever should he find himself promoted to replace Jonathan Trott in an Ashes Test match England are desperate to win after the horrors of their opening defeat in Brisbane.

"If I get the chance to do it it'll be a great experience and a good challenge for me and I look forward to doing it, but if not then fine," Root said with typical equanimity. "When you go out there you get in a number of situations and you make sure you're well equipped to deal with them. I'll be making sure I prepare well over the next couple of days and go into that Test match whether at three or five comfortable and confident and ready to go."

Johnson's pace and physical threat caused grave difficulties for England at the Gabba but Root was a rare batsman who appeared to improve against him as the match went on, atoning for a skittish 2 in the first innings by fighting to an unbeaten 26 while the game was lost around him in the second. He also showed little sign of buckling under Australia's verbal barrage, perhaps another sign that a spell of Australian club cricket served to thicken his 22-year-old skin.

"It was probably close to it, yeah," Root said when queried on whether Johnson's bowling in Brisbane was the quickest he had faced. "It's great. That's why you play Test cricket, to get into battles like that, to get into confrontations like that and try to be successful in those situations. Bring it on on Thursday. It should be good fun.

"Whether you like it or not you've got to deal with it on the field and find your own way of coping with it. I quite enjoyed being out there, and the battles you get and all the rest of it are part of the game and something I'm sure will continue throughout the series. If we perform well that's the best way of counteracting it."

Root said he looked back fondly on his Adelaide experiences of 2010-11, which included time alongside a fellow recruit to the club from beyond the South Australian border - a young finger spinner by the name of Nathan Lyon. By the end of the summer Lyon had graduated to play for SA and was soon bowling for the Test team, while Root went on to earn his county cap for Yorkshire in 2012 and made his England debut later that year in India.

"I played with Nathan, that was the season he started there as well. I got to know him quite well and it's quite interesting being on the opposite side now," Root said. "I had five months here and really enjoyed my time and worked really hard on my game; the season after I made my first-class debut. Playing with other lads in a similar position to me trying to make their way in first-class cricket was beneficial for me coming through and trying to better myself.

"As I've only been playing for a year and as quite a young lad you've got to find your feet in the international arena, there've been different obstacles to overcome and I just want to keep trying to improve, keep bettering myself as a player and that's all I can really do. If I want to survive in this environment I have to find a way to do it, so it's about scoring as many runs as I can and finding ways to do it."

Root's desire to improve will be matched this week by England, as they strain to regather their former poise after losing much psychological and physical ground at the Gabba. It is a scenario they have become familiar with on overseas tours, and like Root in Adelaide, the benefits of that past experience will be better known from Thursday.

"It's always nice to know you've done it before, and this England team has showed it over the last three years," Root said. "It is something we certainly want to do this Test match."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • couchpundit on December 2, 2013, 18:57 GMT

    Clever fella Joe root -- Calls for bouncers on a Flat Track...Apparently he knows a thing or two about picking his battle's.

    It remains to be seen if he would do the same before Perth Test. think Not!!

  • Nutcutlet on December 2, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    @ Cpt.Meanster on (December 1, 2013, 17:58 GMT. Seasons' Greetings, Cpt M! Just occasionally you come up with a comment with which I'm in total agreement. This is one. As you say, JR is a young man whose enthusiasm for playing cricket (whether for his county or country) is only matched by the pride that he feels in the honour of so doing. He knows that he still has much to learn & appreciates that he'll only get better by pitching himself against the best. And do you know what? I am no judge of a cricketer if young Joe isn't in the foothills of a tremendous career. What he has between his ears already shows that he's got the positive attitude that breeds confidence that, in turn, will allow him to express himself with bat in hand. Provided he doesn't get ahead of himself (and I don't see that in his cheerful but grounded make-up), he should go on to make a substantial contribution to the Eng team's cause. For now, let's sit back & enjoy what he has to offer, smiles and all!

  • BigINDFan on December 2, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    This is interesting. While it remains to be seen if Root can walk the talk but his attitude is spot on. The current Aus bowlers are not unplayable like the former greats such as McGrath and Warne. Take Mitch to the cleaners for couple of overs and he will start losing his rhythm. Make Harris toil for 10 overs without a wicket and his body starts crashing. The only real danger is Siddle who is fit, consistent and accurate. Lyon is not a breakthrough bowler.

    Eng needs to accept the fact that they are not superstars and need to earn their ranking like everybody else in overseas tours. Cook and KP are the key to their chances of fighting back - they need to dig in and play long innings and Root should come in at 3 or 4. Drop Prior and get Bairstow in and get Bresnan back in.

    Bresnan is accurate and can bat quite a bit with Broad and Swann down the order.

    If at all anyone can give back it will be KP against Mitch. Then the series will be fun!

  • chitti_cricket on December 2, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Joe Root won't be tested with short pitched balls I think and the same happened in Gebba. They test other batsmen with that while he is at non-strikers end and get his wicket with a full swinging ball while he anticipates short ball. That would be Aussies plan. First of all I suggest to all England players to stop talking until they win a test match in this series. That will be the right approach than talk and fail on the field and get more criticism. Adelaide too I feel England will lose, that is my gut feeling. As long as Aussies play well of Swan there is no threat to them from other England bowlers.

  • on December 2, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    Hostility from fans, cricketers, pundits, media, its flippin hilarious....can't we all just enjoy the cricket for once?

  • milepost on December 2, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Gotta admire his attitude but it doesn't change the fact he hasn't made a run in eons. I'd be delighted to see him at 3, it's always great to get KP in early.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on December 2, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    Do not try this reverse psychology on the Aussies it will not work Rootie, they will be bowling up to you pal (unless you find your front foot).

  • Biggus on December 2, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    No need to ask Joe, I assume our lads had that in mind anyway, but nice to know that you're keen I guess.

  • DaisonGarvasis on December 2, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    So much for the hype when Eng became No1 Test Team - that Eng was going to stay at No1 for at least a decade! Yeah, you read that right - some of the former Eng players were claiming such things... Yes they punch above their weight but to sustain that level like the Australians did, require talent.

  • DaisonGarvasis on December 2, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Root has chosen the moment to talk very very carefully. He didnt speak before the first test and he didnt wait for third test (at WACA) to talk. He talked before the second test - where he has the best chance to do anything with the short ball if at all. He might just get away with this one. If he save the face in second test he will get tougher challenge in third at WACA. If he fails in second test, then Englad may well get a replacement for him for the series.

  • couchpundit on December 2, 2013, 18:57 GMT

    Clever fella Joe root -- Calls for bouncers on a Flat Track...Apparently he knows a thing or two about picking his battle's.

    It remains to be seen if he would do the same before Perth Test. think Not!!

  • Nutcutlet on December 2, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    @ Cpt.Meanster on (December 1, 2013, 17:58 GMT. Seasons' Greetings, Cpt M! Just occasionally you come up with a comment with which I'm in total agreement. This is one. As you say, JR is a young man whose enthusiasm for playing cricket (whether for his county or country) is only matched by the pride that he feels in the honour of so doing. He knows that he still has much to learn & appreciates that he'll only get better by pitching himself against the best. And do you know what? I am no judge of a cricketer if young Joe isn't in the foothills of a tremendous career. What he has between his ears already shows that he's got the positive attitude that breeds confidence that, in turn, will allow him to express himself with bat in hand. Provided he doesn't get ahead of himself (and I don't see that in his cheerful but grounded make-up), he should go on to make a substantial contribution to the Eng team's cause. For now, let's sit back & enjoy what he has to offer, smiles and all!

  • BigINDFan on December 2, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    This is interesting. While it remains to be seen if Root can walk the talk but his attitude is spot on. The current Aus bowlers are not unplayable like the former greats such as McGrath and Warne. Take Mitch to the cleaners for couple of overs and he will start losing his rhythm. Make Harris toil for 10 overs without a wicket and his body starts crashing. The only real danger is Siddle who is fit, consistent and accurate. Lyon is not a breakthrough bowler.

    Eng needs to accept the fact that they are not superstars and need to earn their ranking like everybody else in overseas tours. Cook and KP are the key to their chances of fighting back - they need to dig in and play long innings and Root should come in at 3 or 4. Drop Prior and get Bairstow in and get Bresnan back in.

    Bresnan is accurate and can bat quite a bit with Broad and Swann down the order.

    If at all anyone can give back it will be KP against Mitch. Then the series will be fun!

  • chitti_cricket on December 2, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Joe Root won't be tested with short pitched balls I think and the same happened in Gebba. They test other batsmen with that while he is at non-strikers end and get his wicket with a full swinging ball while he anticipates short ball. That would be Aussies plan. First of all I suggest to all England players to stop talking until they win a test match in this series. That will be the right approach than talk and fail on the field and get more criticism. Adelaide too I feel England will lose, that is my gut feeling. As long as Aussies play well of Swan there is no threat to them from other England bowlers.

  • on December 2, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    Hostility from fans, cricketers, pundits, media, its flippin hilarious....can't we all just enjoy the cricket for once?

  • milepost on December 2, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Gotta admire his attitude but it doesn't change the fact he hasn't made a run in eons. I'd be delighted to see him at 3, it's always great to get KP in early.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on December 2, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    Do not try this reverse psychology on the Aussies it will not work Rootie, they will be bowling up to you pal (unless you find your front foot).

  • Biggus on December 2, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    No need to ask Joe, I assume our lads had that in mind anyway, but nice to know that you're keen I guess.

  • DaisonGarvasis on December 2, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    So much for the hype when Eng became No1 Test Team - that Eng was going to stay at No1 for at least a decade! Yeah, you read that right - some of the former Eng players were claiming such things... Yes they punch above their weight but to sustain that level like the Australians did, require talent.

  • DaisonGarvasis on December 2, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Root has chosen the moment to talk very very carefully. He didnt speak before the first test and he didnt wait for third test (at WACA) to talk. He talked before the second test - where he has the best chance to do anything with the short ball if at all. He might just get away with this one. If he save the face in second test he will get tougher challenge in third at WACA. If he fails in second test, then Englad may well get a replacement for him for the series.

  • JethroTell on December 2, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    I good young cricketer from England who looks like he can face up to fast bowling, and have a smile at the sledging, but batting at 3 in Adelaide will be a walk in the park, when compared to batting at 3 in Perth. Get as many runs as you can at Adelaide Joe as you will get more bruises than runs in Perth .... but hopefully not a broken arm :)

  • jmcilhinney on December 2, 2013, 2:01 GMT

    Joe Root has the right attitude and plenty of talent but words are still just words. All the England players have shown their talent in the past and I'm sure that they went into the first Test with what they considered to be the right attitude at the time. All that matters is results so what anyone says at this point is just words. Here's hoping that England can backup their attitude and show their talent in game 2 and for the rest of the series. I can live with their losing; it's happened before and it will happen again. What I would hate to see is a meek capitulation in the series of the style we saw in the Brisbane Test. While Aussie fans will take any win and would no doubt enjoy the increased bragging rights of a walk-over, I think most people want to see their team win a competitive series.

  • class9ryan on December 2, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    I don't think Aussies attacked Root with a array of short balls, they instead were concentrating on full balls because of Root's habit of hanging back. Short balls will be tested not on Root but on people who are very strong on front foot.

  • Bonehead_maz on December 1, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    You can watch the bouncers from the other end sometimes Joe. I'd recommend watching anything pitched up closely, because that's what you can expect while camped on your back foot.

  • ShutTheGate on December 1, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Everyone is speculating that this Adelaide pitch won't bounce much. Admittedly I don't know much about preparing pitches but I bet that someone at CA put in a call to the groundsmen @ the Adelaide oval after the English first innings with instructions to do whatever they can to assist bounce.

    So while it probably won't be as bouncey as the Gabba or WACA I would not be surprised if MJ and Ryno's effort balls get up around the throat of the English at good speed. Which may catch them off guard as it seems as though everyone is expecting a road.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 1, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    cook, carberry, root, kp, bell, stokes, prior, bresnan, broad, swann, jimmy

  • Buggsy on December 1, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    It's funny, just outside off is Root's weakness. Apart from that one big innings in England, he has a lousy record against Australia. All this talk however more failures in the tour match is making him look more than a bit silly.

  • disco_bob on December 1, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    When the new ball was taken Root lasted four deliveries.

  • BillyBunter2 on December 1, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    Come Thursday Joe root will be rooted with bouncers. Adelaide doesn't have the bounce, then England's seamers will look like slow-medium pacers. It's good Eng is down 1-0......it will prevent them from playing their boring style of cricket which is aiming for a draw. I say a couple more throat ticklers Mitch!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 1, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Mitch bowled very well. Good Mitch turned up for that test match. I also think, his stint at IPL on pace unfriendly wickets made him a better bowler just the way Kapil, Wasim, Imran, Waqar, Zaheer and Srinath became better bowlers by bowling in pace unfriendly conditions. Bowling in tough conditions, makes you more skillful. If the disappointing Mitch turns up in the next test, then it'll be 140-150 KMPH bullets sprayed all over the pitch and runs galore for England. England should try and attack Mitch. There are no two ways about it. Change your stance, guard and bat outside the crease like how Haydos used to do to take the attack to the bowlers. Once you instill fear in Mitch, he'll be all over the place. He is mentally not a strong cricketer. Having said all this, go Aussie comrades go! Beat 'em again!

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 1, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    This is the right attitude. Shikhar Dhawan of India said the same thing the other day about the prospect of facing his good friend Steyn on a bouncy Durban pitch. Joe Root is a fine player and he would only get better as he matures. Batsmen typically hit their peak during their late 20s. Root is still very young and I am already liking his thought process. Mitchell Johnson is a fine bowler but he's not unplayable by any means. Adelaide won't have the bounce that the Gabba did. So England should be fairly confident and go in with a positive frame of mind.

  • CodandChips on December 1, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    Good luck young man. Stay confident. Use your grade cricket experience. It will be interesting to see how well Lyon and Root know eachother.

    Hope he doesn't get moved up to 3. It should be Moeen. Failing that Bell with Balance in at 6. I would even prefer Balance at 3. The yoyo will kill his test career.

  • Diaz54 on December 1, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Fancy facing Shoaib Atkhar....Johnson will not repeat his performance. England should go on the attack. Unfortunately Trott's pull out has done lot of damage.

  • sharidas on December 1, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    It's the attitude that counts. Joe Root will do well. I wish him the best !

  • xtrafalgarx on December 1, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Too much talking so far in this series with few backing it up, just play please.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Be careful what you wish for Mr. Root!

  • sevugapandian on December 1, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    I think, bringing Joe Root in 3rd position will strengthen Eng batting line up, he can face aussie bowling attack easily.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Thats funny really. Bouncers are roots only chance to get some runs at the top of the order.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Thats funny really. Bouncers are roots only chance to get some runs at the top of the order.

  • sevugapandian on December 1, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    I think, bringing Joe Root in 3rd position will strengthen Eng batting line up, he can face aussie bowling attack easily.

  • on December 1, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Be careful what you wish for Mr. Root!

  • xtrafalgarx on December 1, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Too much talking so far in this series with few backing it up, just play please.

  • sharidas on December 1, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    It's the attitude that counts. Joe Root will do well. I wish him the best !

  • Diaz54 on December 1, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Fancy facing Shoaib Atkhar....Johnson will not repeat his performance. England should go on the attack. Unfortunately Trott's pull out has done lot of damage.

  • CodandChips on December 1, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    Good luck young man. Stay confident. Use your grade cricket experience. It will be interesting to see how well Lyon and Root know eachother.

    Hope he doesn't get moved up to 3. It should be Moeen. Failing that Bell with Balance in at 6. I would even prefer Balance at 3. The yoyo will kill his test career.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 1, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    This is the right attitude. Shikhar Dhawan of India said the same thing the other day about the prospect of facing his good friend Steyn on a bouncy Durban pitch. Joe Root is a fine player and he would only get better as he matures. Batsmen typically hit their peak during their late 20s. Root is still very young and I am already liking his thought process. Mitchell Johnson is a fine bowler but he's not unplayable by any means. Adelaide won't have the bounce that the Gabba did. So England should be fairly confident and go in with a positive frame of mind.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 1, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Mitch bowled very well. Good Mitch turned up for that test match. I also think, his stint at IPL on pace unfriendly wickets made him a better bowler just the way Kapil, Wasim, Imran, Waqar, Zaheer and Srinath became better bowlers by bowling in pace unfriendly conditions. Bowling in tough conditions, makes you more skillful. If the disappointing Mitch turns up in the next test, then it'll be 140-150 KMPH bullets sprayed all over the pitch and runs galore for England. England should try and attack Mitch. There are no two ways about it. Change your stance, guard and bat outside the crease like how Haydos used to do to take the attack to the bowlers. Once you instill fear in Mitch, he'll be all over the place. He is mentally not a strong cricketer. Having said all this, go Aussie comrades go! Beat 'em again!

  • BillyBunter2 on December 1, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    Come Thursday Joe root will be rooted with bouncers. Adelaide doesn't have the bounce, then England's seamers will look like slow-medium pacers. It's good Eng is down 1-0......it will prevent them from playing their boring style of cricket which is aiming for a draw. I say a couple more throat ticklers Mitch!