Skipper Joe Root has dismissed suggestions that is impacting his batting before England’s bid to level the Ashes series at the Kia Oval.
Root, 28, averages 30.87 from the series prior to the fifth and last Evaluation and has yet to score a hundred, while compared former Australia captain Steve Smith has chalked up 671 runs in 134.20.
Before he took over from Alastair Cook in February 2017, Root averaged 52.80 with the bat, but that figure has dropped to 40.90 because – a duck in each of the past three Ashes Tests contributing to a 2-1 series deficit.
But when asked by Sky Sports if he feels the captaincy affects his batting, Root said:”No. It’s been a tough season for batting on both sides. Obviously, I’ve not performed as I’d have liked but that is part and parcel of Test cricket.
“You have got to keep striving to discover ways of counter-acting hard passages of play and good bowling. I will continue trying to work on this and attempt to improve my game.”
Out-going head coach Trevor Bayliss defended Root captaincy on Wednesday, saying:”He’s not come under question from anyone making any conclusions. He’s under no pressure in any respect.”
Root stressed that he is focussed on trying to secure a series-levelling win from Australia before embarking upon what he expects will be winter excursions of South Africa and New Zealand.
He explained:”In terms of my own captaincy, I understand the direction I want to take this team ahead and it is all about starting that today rather than after this series – attempting to make sure we utilize this as a stepping stone; win this game and have a very powerful winter and move ahead as a group.”
Australia ruler Tim Paine states that his side have no intention of using a series win and go having kept the Ashes – the vacationers calling up Mitchell Marsh for Travis Head.
England have made two modifications of their own with Chris Woakes and all-rounders Sam Curran returning in the expense of seamer Craig Overton and opener Jason Roy, and Root says the hosts are determined to finish the summer on a winning note.
“We have not missed anything yet,” he said. “Of course, we’re disappointed not to win the Ashes back but we are entirely focused on making certain we do all we can to complete the series 2-2.
“We’ve got a chance to level this string and make it slightly better as it appears at the moment. So we have got to be certain we win this game, that is the complete focus of the group.
“And there’s the Test Championship points to play for as well, which the line could make a massive difference, so there’s a lot to play for.”
Watch the fifth and final Ashes Test live on Sky Sports The Ashes from 10am on Thursday and follow along over-by-over comment and in-play clips on skysports.com and the Sky Sports App.
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