Ashes: We're due to win, says England captain Joe Root ahead of Gabba Test

Updated: 23 November, 2017 11:04 IST | David Clough | Brisbane

Skipper Joe Root believes England will break Aussies' 29-year domination at the Gabba

Joe Root is plotting how England can "upset the apple cart" for Australia at the Gabba. The last side to beat Australia were the West Indies in 1988. The England captain acknowledged the Ashes hosts' ominous record in Brisbane, where the first Test begins today, but publicly pondered the impact it will have on the series if his team can pull off a surprise victory.

England captain Joe Root speaks at a press conference in Brisbane yesterday. Pic/AFP
England captain Joe Root speaks at a press conference in Brisbane yesterday. Pic/AFP

Root, speaking before England confirmed Jake Ball will fill the fourth seamer's spot ahead of Craig Overton, was not flustered as he replied to provocative questions about Australia's Ashes invincibility at this venue for more than 31 years. "Well, I think we're about due, aren't we, to win here?" he asked. "It's the reason why Australia play the first Test of a series here all the time, because they've got such a good record. But what a way to start the series if we can go one up. Then it really upsets the apple cart. "Of course, we are aware of that history. But every series is different, and we can't play this game on what happened in the past."

Captain cool
Very much in the present, 26-year-old Root also tried to make light of the responsibility facing him here, just seven matches into his captaincy. "I'm actually surprising myself how calm I am," said the Yorkshireman. "It's just about making sure you trust all the stuff you've done leading into it and back your game, back your instincts. I have full confidence in this group of players, which I think is why I feel so relaxed."

Root does remain bemused by the outlandish remarks of Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon. His former teammate from Adelaide club cricket caused a stir when he said he hoped to end English careers this winter, also promising to get the visiting captain dropped. "That's not how I'd want my players to go about things, but that's up to him," said Root. "It's slightly out of character. I know Nathan from playing club cricket... it doesn't seem very real."

'Let them talk'
Root will not react with any verbal ire directed at Lyon, on or off the pitch, but admits he cannot entirely vouch for his teammates. "I'm not sure that's my style... I will leave the talking to others," he said."If (other England players) feel they need to have a word, I am all for them doing whatever makes them feel comfortable out in the middle. There's definitely a line, and there's definitely a way to go about things both on and off the field and so far we've done that really well," he added.

England have squared it with themselves that Ben Stokes will not be around, certainly in the early stages of this tour, as he waits at home to see if he will be charged by police after September's late-night fracas in Bristol.Root was not in denial, however, that the match-winning all-rounder will be missed.

First Published: 23 November, 2017 07:54 IST

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