Thursday, 20 February, 2020

England drops Roy for final Ashes Test

Steve Smith's superb form has helped him to surpass Indian skipper Virat Kohli and join the elite list of most runs scored by a single batsman against any opposite team in a Test series England drops Roy for final Ashes Test
Cary Erickson | 11 September, 2019, 20:20

England are 2-1 down and can not take the Ashes back from the holders even if they win the fifth Test at The Oval, which begins on Thursday.

"We know Joe Root's a fantastic cricketer", he said.

"That's a real incentive for everyone, to be part of something special there". The Three Lions are trailing the five-match series 1-2 after the 185-run loss at Old Trafford.

It also ended England's hopes of adding the Ashes to the World Cup they won earlier this summer.

The bookmakers, however, aren't entirely convinced they can do it. Australia remain the slender favourites to close out the match and hence the series - they are 21/20 to do just that, against England's more generous (though hardly compelling) price of 6/4.

Joe Root says his struggles with the bat are "part and parcel of Test cricket" amid questions over his England captaincy.

"But ultimately we need to focus on the core group of players that are going to lead this team forward both home and away and build from that and towards winning in Australia". He averages 40.87 as skipper, as opposed to 52.80 when not leading.

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"We keep looking at different ways for sure, trying different things", he said. All-rounder Ben Stokes will play as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury.

They have included Sam Curran and Chris Woakes in the places of Jason Roy and Craig Overton, respectively, in a bid to boost its chances against a strong Australian bowling line-up.

Australia in their 12-man squad have replaced the out-of-sorts Travis Head with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh - a move that could well be to give some rest to their seamers who are coming on the back of some extended bowling hours in the fourth Test. Fast bowler Peter Siddle is on stand-by in case they do opt for an adjustment.

"We're very hungry", he said. "Of course, we're disappointed not to win the Ashes back but we're fully focused on making sure that we do everything we can to finish the series 2-2".

"Last week's result at Old Trafford was brilliant and we played very well, but all the guys are aware that this Test is bigger than that one".

"We've got to make sure that we square the series up and there's Test Championship points to play for as well which down the line could make a huge difference".