Defiant England captain Joe Root insists Australia are ‘not much better’ than his side as they look to keep the Ashes alive in Melbourne – with captain calling on his team to make things ‘uncomfortable’ for hosts
- England are 2-0 down in the Ashes heading into the third Test in Melbourne
- Joe Root’s side need to win to stand a chance of regaining the urn
- Root insists his team can perform much better despite two heavy defeats
Joe Root has claimed Australia are ‘not much better’ than England as he prepares for Saturday night’s crucial third Test at Melbourne.
Defeat will leave his side 3-0 down with two to play, and raise inevitable questions about his future as captain of the Test team – as well as the position of head coach Chris Silverwood.
But Root insisted: ‘I don’t think they’re that much better than us in these conditions, as I said to the group. The scoreline would suggest they’re absolutely a far better team than us, and I don’t think they are.
England captain Joe Root was in defiant mood as he spoke to the media ahead of the third Test
Root’s team have been outplayed in all areas as they have fallen to two heavy defeats so far
‘If we perform anywhere like we can do, we’ll put them in an uncomfortable position. We’ll push back and find ourselves in a very different situation leaving this ground.’
Australia have won 11 of the last 12 Ashes Tests on home turf, and will be boosted by the return from a Covid scare of captain Pat Cummins. Meanwhile, head coach Justin Langer resolved to prolong Root’s search for a first Test hundred in Australia.
‘He is a brilliant player, no doubt about that,’ he said. ‘We spend a lot of our time working out how to get on top of Joe, not only because he’s such a world-class player, but he’s also the captain of the opposition.
‘It’s always been a philosophy in the Australian cricket team to put as much pressure on the opposition as captain as possible.’
ENGLAND: 1 Haseeb Hameed, 2 Zak Crawley, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Jos Buttler (wkt), 8 Ollie Robinson, 9 Mark Wood, 10 Jack Leach, 11 James Anderson.
AUSTRALIA: 1 David Warner, 2 Marcus Harris, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Steve Smith, 5 Travis Head, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Alex Carey (wkt), 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Jhye Richardson, 11 Nathan Lyon.