Root senses 'great opportunity' for England to end Gabba hoodoo in first Ashes Test

By Sports Desk December 06, 2021

James Anderson and Stuart Broad were the only members of the England squad who were born when the tourists last won an Ashes Test at the Gabba.

The hostile iconic Brisbane venue has been such a fortress for Australia that you have to go back to November 1986 for their previous Test defeat to England at the ground where the 2021-22 series starts on Wednesday.

Yet India consigned Australia to a first Gabba loss in the longest format for over 32 years in January and England captain Joe Root is backing his side to end the hoodoo, despite a lack of match practice due to rain.

The world's number one Test batter said: "[Victory] would absolutely set us up for the rest of the series and it's a great opportunity.

"This group of players, not that long ago, went to Cape Town where we've not won a Test for a long period of time and off the back of a performance there won the series.

"I feel like we have been able to do that around the world and this is an opportunity to do that here. Obviously conditions are slightly different to home, at this venue in particular with that extra bit of bounce, but we have prepared as well as we can for that. If we manage that well we should give a really good account of ourselves and start well."

Ben Stokes' return gives England a massive lift as they attempt to wrestle back the urn, though they won't have the usual level of backing from the Barmy Army as usual due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

The tourists were thrashed 4-0 in their last Ashes series Down Under in 2017-18 after the humiliation of a 2013-14 whitewash, so it is almost 10 years since their last Test win in Australia.

Stats Perform looks at some of the key factors that will decide whether they can make it a miserable start to Pat Cummins' reign as Australia Test captain.

 

Stoking the fires

Stokes has not played for his country since July, but declared himself fit to face Australia after taking a break to prioritise his mental well-being and fully recover from a fractured finger.

The all-rounder was England's player of the series in an Ashes series two years ago that ended in a 2-2 draw, scoring 441 runs at an average of 55.12 and producing one of the great innings at Headingley to pull off an unlikely victory.

Vice-captain Stokes' return should add strength to the middle order they have been lacking and Root will be hoping he can do some damage in short, sharp bursts with the ball.

 

Root must keep racking up the runs

It has been an incredible 2021 for Root, who has scored six Test centuries - including one double-hundred in Sri Lanka and another in India.

The skipper said this tour will define his captaincy and England will need him to keep racking up the runs if they are to return home with a surprise series win.

Only five batsmen have scored more Test centuries in a year than Root's tally, with Mohammad Yousuf holding the record with a staggering nine in 2006.

 

Lack of pace potency?

Not for the first time in Ashes, a lack of pace could be a big issue for England and how they would love to have a fit Jofra Archer firing.

Australian Troy Cooley was brought into the touring party as a consultant pace bowling coach and there is no doubting the quality in the England attack, led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Broad tormented Warner in the 2019 series, but the opener could be much more difficult to dismiss on home soil with a Kookaburra ball and returned to form in Australia's recent T20 World Cup triumph.

Mark Wood is capable of doing damage but it remains to be seen how many Tests the injury-prone quick can play. Ollie Robinson could make a big impact in his first Ashes series and Chris Woakes can hit the sort of lengths to trouble batters in Australia.

Related items

  • CWI thanks Deandra Dottin for her outstanding value to West Indies Women’s cricket CWI thanks Deandra Dottin for her outstanding value to West Indies Women’s cricket

    Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Monday expressed gratitude to Deandra Dottin for her valuable contributions and her numerous outstanding performances during her stellar 14-year career as a member of the West Indies Women’s Team. The dynamic allrounder announced her retirement from international cricket, last week. 

    “On behalf of all here at CWI, I want to congratulate Deandra on what has been an outstanding career covering almost a decade-and-a-half, during which time she has contributed immensely to Barbados and West Indies cricket. Her outstanding achievements on the field of play are a testament to her dedication, commitment and hard work which were the hallmark of her approach to the game. We wish her all the success possible in her future endeavours,” said CWI Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams.

    Courtney Walsh, West Indies Women’s Head Coach said, “Deandra is one of the most athletic and dynamic players in the history of Women’s cricket and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate her on what has been 14 years of performance excellence for the West Indies. During my time as Head Coach, I have been able to see her brilliance up close on the field, and she always gave it everything.”

    Dottin made her international debut in Ireland in June 2008 and was a fixture in the team in both One-Day Internationals and T20 Internationals since. She played 143 ODIs and 124 T20Is for West Indies. She is a three-dimensional player as a powerful batter, brisk medium-fast bowler and livewire in the outfield, which enabled her to quickly rise to be rated among the best allrounders in the history of the women’s game.

    In One Day Internationals (ODIs) she made 3,727 runs, with a top score of 150 not out and took 72 wickets with best figures of 5-34. In T20 Internationals (T20Is) she made 2,681 runs with two memorable centuries and also took 62 wickets with best figures of 5-5. Her finest hour came when she was part of the West Indies team which defeated Australia to win the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup title in Kolkata in April 2016. She also had one of the most memorable feats in cricket history which catapulted her to stardom when she made her maiden T20I century – 112 not out off 45 balls against South Africa in St. Kitts in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2010.

     

     

  • Browns coach Kevin Stefanski calls situation with QB Deshaun Watson, RB Kareem Hunt 'normal' Browns coach Kevin Stefanski calls situation with QB Deshaun Watson, RB Kareem Hunt 'normal'

    A quarterback facing a suspension amid an NFL disciplinary case over sexual misconduct allegations and a running back demanding a trade after the team nixed his request for a long-term contract extension is all part of a normal training camp, as far as Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is concerned.

    After the Browns opened camp with QB Deshaun Watson being suspended for six games – which the NFL is appealing to seek a harsher penalty – running back Kareem Hunt sat out practices over the weekend while wanting a new deal. That request was denied, prompting Hunt to ask to be traded.

    There is no shortage of drama at the Browns' camp, but Stefanski believes it is par for the course.

    ''We are working, there is no distraction,'' Stefanski said on Sunday. ''I understand there are things that happen that certainly get attention, and that's OK... This is normal. This is NFL football, as far as I know.''

    Hunt, who is in the final year of a two-year, $13.25million extension, did return to practice on Sunday, while Watson continues to train and is currently available to play in Cleveland's pre-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday.

    "I would tell you, respectfully, we really do focus on what we can control,” Stefanski added. “I understand that there are things that happen that certainly get attention, and that is OK.

    "This is a great game. I know our fans love this game and follow every step along the way.

    "For us, we really are focused on trying to get better. We are not where we need to be, and we have a lot of work to do. That is what we are focusing on."

    Limited to just eight games in 2021 due to calf and ankle injuries, Hunt had 1,145 scrimmage yards and 11 total touchdowns for the Browns in 2020, while appearing in all 16 games.

    Cleveland made the playoffs that season with Hunt and Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb forming a solid one-two punch.

    The NFL's rushing leader in 2017 with Kansas City, Hunt joined the Browns in 2019 but sat out the first eight games that season after being suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy while playing for the Chiefs.

    Watson, who was acquired by Cleveland in March, was suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

    The league, however, is seeking a longer penalty after two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct during massage treatments while he played for the Houston Texans.

  • Dortmund address Haller absence by signing Modeste Dortmund address Haller absence by signing Modeste

    Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of experienced Bundesliga striker Anthony Modeste from Cologne for a reported fee of €5million.

    The 34-year-old has signed a one-year contract after it was revealed new arrival Sebastien Haller will miss a significant period due to being diagnosed with a testicular tumour last month.

    Haller had been signed as the replacement for Erling Haaland, who left for Manchester City earlier in the transfer window. 

    The former West Ham and Ajax striker underwent surgery in the first stage of his treatment, with Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl confirming Haller would be out "for a few months", but adding further treatment plans were still being discussed.

    On Sunday, Kehl confirmed Dortmund had reached an agreement with Cologne for Modeste, although he noted the move remained contingent on a medical being completed and personal terms agreed.

    With those formalities complete, the Frenchman is set to lead the line for the eight-time German champions in Haller's absence.

    Dortmund's new signing said: "I am very grateful to 1. FC Koln for the wonderful and successful time I had there. However, I have now decided to make a change.

    "The offer from BVB has given me a special chance to play in the Champions League at my age and to prove myself at the highest level. I am delighted about this opportunity and I promise that I will give everything for the success of the team and the club."

    Modeste has scored 83 goals in 190 Bundesliga games, spending two years at Hoffenheim before moving to Cologne for two spells either side of a short period in China and a brief time in France with Saint-Etienne.

    His knowledge of the league and aerial prowess will likely have been key reasons for Dortmund targeting him, with Modeste scoring eight headed goals in the first half of last season, the most by a player in the first half of a Bundesliga season since detailed data collection began in 2004-05.

    Dortmund won their first game of the Bundesliga campaign 1-0 against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday thanks to a Marco Reus goal, but did lose another new attacker Karim Adeyemi to injury in the first half at Signal Iduna Park.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.