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England captain Joe Root urges the underdogs to take on the Australians during the Ashes

Be brave and we can win the Ashes Down Under! England captain Joe Root urges his underdogs to do battle with the Australians ahead of the first Test

  • Joe Root leads England into battle in the opening game of the Ashes series on Tuesday night
  • The visiting underdogs will try to put two miserable Ashes tours behind them
  • And captain Root has urged his teammates to take on the Australians


Joe Root leads England into battle on Tuesday night and vows to set the record straight after two miserable Ashes tours by taking on the Australians.

The England captain was dropped during the 5-0 humiliation in 2013-14, then fell ill at the end of his first tour as lead when the tourists lost 4-0 four years ago.

Now he wants his underdogs to be brave as they take on Australia under new skipper Pat Cummins in the Gabba, at the start of five Ashes Tests squeezed into 42 days.

England captain Joe Root has urged his side to take on Australia during the Ashes

The world's No. 1 test batter has a lot to think about ahead of Tuesday night's series opener

The world’s No. 1 test batter has a lot to think about ahead of Tuesday night’s series opener

“I am absolutely determined to set the record straight,” Root said ahead of the biggest fight in Test cricket, which starts at midnight UK time.

“If you look at the last two tours, our performances were not good enough and we can only expect better. This time we’re going to try to do things differently because if we approach this series in the same way, we’ll probably get similar results. It’s really important that we are brave and bring the game to Australia and we’re going to have to be smart.”

Root believes England’s decision to drop him for the last Test of the whitewash eight years ago made him do it. He is now the No. 1 test batsman in the world and supports his teammates to make a name for themselves as well.

“A lot of careers are defined here,” Root says. “It can make your name to come here and have a lot of success. That opportunity is there for everyone to try to grab and do something special.’

England will round out their squad on Tuesday after Root refused to “play mind games” by pursuing Cummins, who took up the gauntlet by calling his side three days after the test.

Ollie Pope (top right) expected to beat Jonny Bairstow (left) as a middle order batter

Ollie Pope (top right) expected to beat Jonny Bairstow (left) as a middle order batter

Ollie Pope is expected to beat Jonny Bairstow, who made just 11 runs, including a golden duck in England’s limited prep period, and Root is still in doubt whether he will make a full charge or go with spinner Jack Leach in unusually wet Brisbane .

Root was also preparing his team for an environment in the ‘Gabbatoir’ that would likely be even more hostile than usual due to the lack of traveling English fans. About 1,500 expats from Queensland are expected to provide the support there is for England.

“The guys who have been here before will never have experienced our fans not being here,” Root added. ‘They are usually phenomenal. But I’m sure the Brisbane Barmies will come into effect here. We’re just going to try to embrace the atmosphere.’

Ashes’ rivals are sharing hotels due to Covid protocols, rather than keeping their usual distance.

And Root added: “There can be a strange awkward elevator ride, but hopefully that’s as far as it goes. I think it just stays competitive and doesn’t cross any boundaries.’

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