England’s cricketers have a ‘very tough challenge’ to prove they can face the world again, according to Joe Root. England need to be brave and show trust in each other if they are going to eradicate their mistakes and become a force on the field once more.
England’s best score so far in the series is 297, whereas Australia has reached 400 in both Test innings.
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In the third Ashes Test in Melbourne, England must react by being daring, demonstrating faith, and eliminating “pretty simple” errors, according to skipper Joe Root.
Adelaide Root expressed his “frustration” that England continues to make the same errors.
On Friday, Root told Radio 5 Live, “I anticipate a reaction.”
“I’m expecting everyone to give it their all in this Test match.”
To win the Ashes, England must win the last three games in the series, including the iconic Boxing Day Test at the MCG, which begins at 23:30 GMT on Saturday.
The encounter is a “really historic Test match” that “every English player wants to be a part of,” according to Root, who added that it is a “wonderful chance to try and make some history and do something spectacular.”
The 2017 Ashes’ Boxing Day Test was a tie, however it is a venue where England has had some success, with two victories in the previous five Tests – but the other three were lost.
Root was scathing of his bowlers in his post-match interview following the crushing loss in Adelaide, claiming “we needed to bowl fuller.”
He also criticized the batsmen for not forming enough partnerships and complained about wasted opportunities in the field (England dropped seven catches in the second Test and has dropped 12 in the series thus far).
Fast bowler Mark Wood, who did not play in the second Test, said on Wednesday that England had a “brutally honest chat” and had been given a “kick up the bum,” as batter Dawid Malan put it.
“As a group, we’ve addressed it,” Root added. “At the conclusion of the game, we chatted and had an open and honest conversation.”
“It was really evident where we needed to improve.”
“I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for my lack of preparedness.” The truth is that the errors we’ve made have been… I don’t believe they were complicated small things, but rather simple ones.
“There’s nothing to lose in many respects. It’s up to us to go out there and win. And I get the impression that everyone is in the correct frame of mind to do this.”
With Jos Buttler surviving 207 balls for his 26 runs on the last day of the second Test, England took the game into the final session on 82-4, and Root stated England needed to have that approach and “harness it for five days.”
He went on to say that his team is “more than capable of delivering it; all we have to do now is go out and deliver it.”
In Melbourne, the visitors are anticipated to make changes, with Zak Crawley replacing Rory Burns (51 runs in four innings) and Jonny Bairstow replacing Ollie Pope (48 runs in four attempts).
In place of Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, Wood and left-arm spinner Jack Leach are expected to return.
Root remained tight-lipped on team selection, but advised whomever is chosen to perform “basic things well” and have “clarity of thought.”
The 30-year-old, who is England’s most successful captain but is facing his third Ashes without a win, urged his batsmen to play “over my dead body” and his bowlers to “ask those tough questions for longer lengths of time.”
“On times, we’ve performed well. However, we’ve perhaps been a touch too nice with our lengths on times “Root chimed in.
“We simply need to keep doing it for a little longer. We must have faith in it, be fearless, and put all into this game.”
‘England will make a strong comeback.’
After being judged a near Covid-19 contact on the morning of the third Test, Australia skipper Cummins is poised to return to Melbourne, although Josh Hazlewood will be out again with a side strain.
Quick with the left arm Mitchell Starc is likely to play a third consecutive Test despite rib and back issues, while coach Justin Langer has backed Marcus Harris at the top of the order despite the left-hander only scoring 38 runs in four innings.
Australia are anticipating a much-improved England this week, according to all-rounder Cameron Green.
“They had some pretty excellent moments,” Green said, “and we know how talented they are.”
“Obviously, they’re a world-class squad with world-class players.”
“We’ve performed incredibly well in the previous two of matches, and we’re certain they’ll come back strong.”
Green, who is 22 years old and has only played six Tests for Australia, considers comparisons to England all-rounder Ben Stokes “hazardous” since Stokes is “the greatest in the world.”
“I’m sure as I play more Tests, I’ll get a little more confidence in being able to do [what Stokes does] and a little more self-belief in being able to win a match by yourself,” Green said.
Green hasn’t been particularly impressive with the bat in this series, scoring 35 runs in three innings, but his five wickets, including two dismissals of Root, and outstanding bowling economy have guided Australia to a dominating series lead.
Green stated of his victory against Root, “It’s a little of fun at the moment, isn’t it?” It’s possible that a couple of the lads have mentioned it.
“I’ve simply been fortunate a couple of times, so it’s not really a match. He hasn’t scored a century in Australia, but he’s batting wonderfully in the middle, so we’ll have to step up our game.”