Skipper Joe Root has dismissed suggestions that is impacting his batting before England’s bid to level the Ashes series in the Kia Oval.
Root, 28, averages 30.87 in the series prior to the fifth and final Evaluation also has yet to score a hundred, even while in contrast former Australia captain Steve Smith has chalked up 671 runs at 134.20.
Before he took over from Alastair Cook in February 2017, Root uttered 52.80 using the bat, but that figure has fallen to 40.90 since – a duck in each of the previous three Ashes Tests contributing to a 2-1 series deficit.
But when asked by Sky Sports if he believes the captaincy affects his batting, Root said:”No. It’s been a difficult year for batting on either side. I’ve not performed since I’d have liked but that is part and parcel of Test cricket.
“You’ve got to keep striving to find ways of counter-acting difficult passages of play and great bowling. I will keep trying to work on that and try to improve my sport.”
Out-going head coach Trevor Bayliss defended Root captaincy on Wednesday, stating:”He has not come under question from anybody making any conclusions. He’s under no pressure in any respect.”
Root worried that he is fully focussed on attempting to secure a win before embarking upon which he hopes will be winter tours of New Zealand and South Africa.
He explained:”With regards to my own captaincy, I know the direction I want to take this group forward in and it is all about starting that now rather than following this series – trying to make sure that we utilize this as a stepping stone; win this particular game and then have a very powerful winter and then move forward as a team.”
Australia captain Tim Paine says that his side have no intention of having a string win and go into the final Test using retained the Ashes – that the tourists calling Mitchell Marsh for Travis Head up.
England have made two changes of their own with Chris Woakes and all-rounders Sam Curran returning at the cost of seamer Craig Overton and opener Jason Roy, and Root says that the hosts are all determined to end the summer on a winning note.
“We have not missed anything yet,” he said. “Obviously, we’re not able to win the Ashes back but we’re completely focused on making sure that we do everything we can to complete the series 2-2.
“We’ve got an opportunity to level this string and make it slightly better than it appears right now. That is the complete attention of this group so we have got to be certain we win this match.
“And there is the Evaluation Championship points to play for as well, which down the line can make a massive difference, so there’s plenty 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 commentary and in-play clips on skysports.com along with the Sky Sports App.
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