England’s Ashes blueprint: Joe Root’s side to shun spin and go at great pace against New Zealand

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Time for England to put aside, for now at least, the social media that turned the first test into a public relations disaster of their own making.

And maybe time for them to unveil their bowling blueprint for the Ashes this winter in front of 17,000 fans in the second Test at Edgbaston.

The sun will shine on a ground that normally spins, but England are considering dropping Jack Leach against New Zealand – and going again with the seam-loaded attack they think will give them the best chance of winning in Australia.

England ready to go all out against New Zealand with Jimmy Anderson lining up for record-breaking 162nd test

England ready to go all out against New Zealand with Jimmy Anderson lining up for record-breaking 162nd test

That means two real quicks and two ‘control’ bowlers, with Joe Root providing the spin and missing the hapless Leach along with Dom Bess, who was added to the squad that drew the first Test at Lord’s.

It’s a policy that will raise eyebrows if implemented in Edgbaston, but it’s based on the historic failure of the English spider to make any impact in Australia.

And it’s something England want to experiment with as much as possible before heading to Brisbane in December, especially in a run with no World Cup points at stake.

So the opportunity is obvious for Warwickshire’s Olly Stone at his home ground alongside Mark Wood, while England are eager to see if the Durham man’s fragile body can withstand the impact of back-to-back Tests.

Olly Stone and Mark Wood get a chance to prove themselves to the Ashes

Olly Stone and Mark Wood get a chance to prove themselves to the Ashes

Olly Stone and Mark Wood get a chance to prove themselves to the Ashes

And the pair could stand alongside the big two of Jimmy Anderson, making his record-breaking 162nd Test appearance, and Stuart Broad, even if that leaves England with a longer tail than last week.

England have another bowler, Craig Overton, in the squad who could provide the punching power at eight that they will miss in the absence of the suspended Ollie Robinson. But Stone and Wood will likely be needed in Australia sooner than Overton and England have made no secret of their desire to build to the big this winter.

The long-term picture will be complete when Ben Stokes, who will make his comeback this week after an injury for Durham in the T20 Blast, returns as what would be the fifth seaman in a first-choice Ashes squad.

Meanwhile, Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Robinson – as long as the ECB is not too zealous in their sentences – would provide the alternatives to Wednesday’s chosen four and the depth to England’s Ashes attack.

It’s an intriguing prospect, but Root, without the balance on his side that Stokes or Woakes would bring, kept his cards close to his chest on Tuesday.

“Which way we go, it’s going to be one-sided,” the England captain said. “It will feel like we’re missing something.

Joe Root held his cards close to his chest when asked about his side's balance

Joe Root held his cards close to his chest when asked about his side's balance

Joe Root held his cards close to his chest when asked about his side’s balance

“But that’s the nature of how it is. We may be in this position in the future and need to find ways to win games.”

How England should win this one. ‘Tweet-gate’ was a horrible distraction and England seemed no closer to deciding what to do with the second player to send a historic racist tweet, in his case when he was just 15.

Stay silent for much longer and it will seem as if they treat him – and the others who have been dragged into it, including Jimmy Anderson, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler – much more leniently than Robinson, the man who took seven wickets on his debut at Lord’s.

Root wouldn’t dwell on that, but he did launch a solid defense of England’s creep towards that draw at Lord’s after Kane Williamson, who will miss Wednesday’s game to rest his injured elbow ahead of next week’s World Test Championship final, the most tempting carrots. Did England miss a great opportunity to entertain their returning fans?

“I thought about this for a while and I still feel like we made the right decision,” Root insisted. “We still got here with the opportunity to win a Test series and that means a lot to this group of players.

“We tried to set up a platform and give ourselves a chance to chase that target at Lord’s, but – and I was out there – it didn’t seem possible. We want to win as many Tests as possible, but if we feel like we can’t, we want to finish games and keep ourselves in series.”

England captain insisted he wants his team to play an exciting game of cricket

England captain insisted he wants his team to play an exciting game of cricket

England captain insisted he wants his team to play an exciting game of cricket

So will England now try to put on more of a show for their first proper home crowd in nearly two years in this government testing event?

“Hopefully,” Carrot said. “We all know very well that we’re in the entertainment business and we all want to be a part of those special games that provide that entertainment. If the opportunity presents itself, we will definitely be aggressive.

“I don’t want us to be seen as a negative team playing a boring kind of cricket. We have very exciting players who are capable of great cricket passages and hopefully that will come to light this week.’

How England, and their supporters in this most atmospheric of terrain, need those beautiful passages after the most miserable crises that still have a long way to go. Now they have to decide which bowlers are best equipped to cater for them.

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