Ashes 2021-22: Root does not believe Australia are 'that much better' than England

By Sports Desk December 20, 2021

Joe Root does not believe Australia are "that much better" than England despite their dominant start to the Ashes.

England once again paid the price for a poor first-innings batting performance at Adelaide Oval, eventually succumbing to a 275-run defeat following prolonged resistance from Jos Buttler.

Buttler thwarted stand-in captain Steve Smith's side for over four hours as he made 26 off 207 balls before being trudging off after stepping on his stumps when facing Jhye Richardson (5-42), who claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul.

Chris Woakes also made a battling 44, but England are 2-0 down and winless in 12 Test matches in Australia – their joint-longest run without a victory Down Under.

Captain Root says they have not done themselves justice in two emphatic defeats.

Root told reporters: "With the bat, we have got the ability. I don't think that Australia are that much better in these conditions as the scoreline suggests.

"I'm convinced we've got what we need to win Test matches over here but we're not going to if we keep missing chances and don't give ourselves an opportunity to get into the Test match with the bat.

"We've got to find ways of building those partnerships, getting in, making big contributions.

"That's something we'll have to do very well at Melbourne. I was absolutely gutted to get out last night. I should have been able to turn up today, put the pads on and lead by example, so I'm bitterly disappointed in myself."

Australia have now won all of their nine day-night Test matches, the only side to boast a 100 per cent winning record in such fixtures, while England are winless in their last four pink-ball outings since beating West Indies in 2017.

While Root bemoaned the lengths his bowlers settled on in Adelaide, the skipper reserved special praise for Buttler as he appreciated the tough task that lies ahead.

"Everyone is absolutely devastated for him, having had that mindset and that strength of character in what has been quite a difficult week for him," Root said of Buttler.

"I'm very proud of the way the guys fought today. The attitude and the desire, that's how we need to go about a whole match.

"But we can't just leave it to the last day to try and pull off an enormous feat like we had to do today.

"We've got three massive games now, with the Ashes on the line. If that's not motivation enough, I don’t know what is."

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    “People may not necessarily know the intricate details that go into playing a cricket match. I'm not one of the big superstars that may hit the ball 100 metres or bowl at 90 miles per hour or take a five-wicket haul or anything like that, but I think I still play a key and vital role in the team,” Chase said in a Cricket West Indies (CWI) interview.

    “So people just tend to see me chipping in here and they say, 'Chase ain't no good.' But I know what I can do, my teammates know what I can do, and the coaches know what I can do. But at the end of the day everyone has their own opinion,” he added.

    With 49 Test matches to his name, Chase’s credentials in that format speaks for themselves, as he been a steady middle-order batsman since his 2016 debut. He is one of only four West Indian, after Denis Atkinson, Collie Smith and Garry Sobers, to take a five-wicket haul and score a hundred in a Test –a feat he achieved in his second Test, at Sabina Park.

    The Barbadian rose to prominence in T20s during the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, when he finished as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a tally of 446 runs and 10 wickets. He also assisted St Lucia Kings to the final –their second in CPL history –in that 2021 season.

    That performance resulted in his inclusion for the 2021 T20 World Cup, where he played the last three matches in West Indies' failed campaign as they were eliminated at the group stage. He next featured for the Windies in a 3-0 series loss away to India in February 2022, before being discarded from the T20 setup for just over a year.

    Now back in the team, Chase is determined to prove his worth, with both bat and ball, and his performance in Thursday’s opening warm-up contest against South Africa, underscored that much.

    The right-hander, who bowls off spin, played an anchor role in West Indies innings and scored an unbeaten 30-ball 32, before returning to take one wicket for 12 runs from two overs, in the 28-run win at Sabina Park.

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    "This Schools Ticketing Programme initiative is about more than just watching a game; it's about creating a connection with the sport that can inspire future generations,” he added.

    Recently-elected Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Dr. Donovan Bennett, expressed enthusiasm for the initiative and its potential impact.

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    West Indies won Thursday’s first game by 28 runs. The remaining two matches of the series are scheduled for Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 at the same venue. Start time is 2:00pm.

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