Skipper Joe Root has ignored suggestions that captaincy is currently impacting his batting before England’s bid to level the Ashes series.
Root, 28, averages 30.87 in the series before the fifth and final Evaluation and has yet to score a hundred, while in contrast former Australia captain Steve Smith has chalked up 671 runs at 134.20.
Before he took over from Alastair Cook at February 2017, Root averaged 52.80 with the bat, but that figure has dropped to 40.90 since – a duck in each of the past three Ashes Tests leading to a 2-1 series deficit.
But when asked by Sky Sports if he believes the captaincy impacts his batting, Root stated:”No. It has been a challenging season for batting on each side. I’ve not performed because I would have liked but that is a part and parcel of Test cricket.
“You’ve got to keep trying to find means of counter-acting difficult passages of drama and decent bowling. I’ll keep trying to work on that and attempt to improve my sport.”
Out-going head coach Trevor Bayliss defended Root captaincy on Wednesday, saying:”He has not encounter question from anybody making any conclusions. He is under no stress in any way.”
Root stressed that he is fully focussed on attempting to secure a series-levelling win before embarking upon which he hopes will be winter tours of New Zealand and South Africa.
He said:”With regards to my captaincy, I know the direction I need to take this group ahead and it’s about starting that now and not after this series – trying to be sure that we utilize this as a stepping stone; win this particular game and then have a very strong winter and then move ahead as a group.”
Australia enter the Evaluation having kept the Ashes and ruler Tim Paine states his side don’t have any intention of surrendering a string win – the vacationers calling up Mitchell Marsh to get Travis Head.
England have made 2 modifications in their own with Chris Woakes and Sam Curran returning at the cost of opener Jason Roy and seamer Craig Overton, and Root states that the hosts are all determined to finish the summer on a winning note.
“We’ve not missed anything yet,” he explained. “Obviously, we’re disappointed not to win the Ashes back but we are fully focused on making sure we do everything we can to complete the series 2-2.
“We’ve got a chance to level this string and make it marginally better than it looks at the moment. That’s the full attention of this group so we’ve got to be certain that we win this match.
“And there’s the Evaluation Championship points to play as well, which down the line could make a massive difference, so there is plenty to play .”
Watch the fifth and final Ashes Test live on Sky Sports The Ashes from 10am on Thursday and follow along over-by-over commentary and in-play clips on skysports.com and the Sky Sports App.
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