Skipper Joe Root has dismissed suggestions that captaincy is impacting his batting ahead of England’s bid to level the Ashes series in the Kia Oval.
Root, 28, averages 30.87 in the series before the fifth and final Test also has yet to score a hundred, even while compared former Australia captain Steve Smith has chalked up 671 runs in 134.20.
Before he shot more than Alastair Cook in February 2017, Root uttered 52.80 with the bat, but that figure has fallen to 40.90 since – a duck in each of the past three Ashes Tests contributing to a 2-1 series deficit.
But when requested by Sky Sports if he believes that the captaincy impacts his batting, Root stated:”No. It’s been a tough year for batting on either side. Obviously, I’ve not performed since I would have liked but that’s part and parcel of Test cricket.
“You’ve got to keep trying to discover ways of counter-acting hard passages of play and great bowling. I’ll keep trying to work on this and attempt to improve my game.”
Out-going head coach Trevor Bayliss defended Root captaincy on Wednesday, stating:”He’s not come under question from anybody making any conclusions. He’s under no pressure in any way.”
Root stressed that he is fully focussed on trying to secure a win against Australia before embarking on what he hopes will succeed winter excursions of South Africa and New Zealand.
He explained:”In terms of my captaincy, I understand the direction I wish to take this group forward in and it’s about starting that now and not following this string – trying to be sure we use this as a stepping stone; win this game and have a really powerful winter and move ahead as a team.”
Australia go having kept the Ashes and captain Tim Paine says that his side have no intention of having a series win – that the vacationers calling up Mitchell Marsh for Travis Head.
England have made 2 modifications of their own with all-rounders Sam Curran and Chris Woakes returning in opener Jason Roy and seamer Craig Overton’s expense, also Root says that the hosts are determined to end the summer on a winning note.
“We’ve not lost anything yet,” he said. “Obviously, we are disappointed not to win the Ashes back but we are fully focused on making sure that we do everything we can to complete the series 2-2.
“We have got an opportunity to level this series and make it slightly better as it appears at this time. So we’ve got to make sure we win this match that’s the focus of the group.
“And there’s the Test Championship points to perform for as well, which down the line could make a enormous difference, so there’s a lot to play .”
View the fifth and final Ashes Test live on Sky Sports The Ashes from 10am on Thursday and follow over-by-over comment and in-play clips on skysports.com along with the Sky Sports App.
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