Skipper Joe Root has ignored suggestions that captaincy is currently impacting his batting ahead of 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 final Test also has yet to score a hundred, while in contrast former Australia captain Steve Smith has chalked up 671 runs in 134.20.
Before he shot over from Alastair Cook in February 2017, Root averaged 52.80 using the bat, but that amount has dropped to 40.90 since – a duck in each of the last three Ashes Tests contributing to a 2-1 series deficit.
But when asked by Sky Sports when he believes the captaincy affects his batting, Root stated:”No. It has been a difficult year for batting on either side. I’ve not performed because I would have liked but that is part and parcel of Test cricket.
“You have got to keep looking to find means of counter-acting difficult passages of play and great bowling. I’ll continue trying to work on that and try to improve my sport.”
Out-going head coach Trevor Bayliss defended Root’s captaincy on Wednesday, stating:”He has not come under question from anyone making any conclusions. He is under no pressure at all.”
Root worried that he is completely focussed on attempting to secure a win before embarking on which he expects will be successful winter tours of South Africa and New Zealand.
He said:”In terms of my captaincy, I understand the direction I wish to take this group forward in and it’s all about starting that today and not following this series – attempting to be sure that we utilize this as a stepping stone; win this game and have a very strong winter and move ahead as a group.”
Australia ruler Tim Paine claims that his side have no intention of surrendering a series win and go having kept the Ashes in Old Trafford – the vacationers calling up Mitchell Marsh to get Travis Head.
England have made two changes in their own with all-rounders Sam Curran and Chris Woakes returning in opener Jason Roy and seamer Craig Overton’s expense, and Root states that the hosts are determined to end the summer on a winning note.
“We have not lost anything yet,” he said. “Of course, we are not able to win the Ashes back but we’re entirely focused on making sure we do all we can to finish the series 2-2.
“We have got an opportunity to level this series and make it marginally better than it appears at this time. So we have got to be certain we win this game, that’s the focus of the group.
“And there’s the Evaluation Championship points to play for as well, which the line may make a huge difference, so there is 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 comment and in-play clips on skysports.com along with the Sky Sports App.
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