Barmy Army descend on London pub to cheer on England in Ashes opener

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The Barmy Army braved the early hours of Saturday morning to cheer on England from a London pub, but were left with little to celebrate as Australia stormed to a 1-0 Ashes lead.

Sliding from 220 for two overnight to 297 all out, they left Australia needing just 20 runs to secure a handsome fourth day victory.

Former England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom hailed the support of the passionate fanbase and put his faith in the “absolutely brilliant” England captain Joe Root to rescue the series.

Fans were out in force and in full voice as they gathered at the Greenwood Sports Pub and Kitchen in Victoria overnight to watch their heroes.

Sidebottom described the atmosphere as “rocking”, telling the PA news agency: “The Barmy Army are absolutely immense, I mean when I played, and now they support us around the world.

“And it means a great deal, you know, the support that we do get is phenomenal.”

But some fans were seen holding their heads in their hands as England headed towards defeat.

The former left-arm paceman said while things have not worked in England’s favour so far, there is still time for it to turn around.

He said: “It’s not just about this Test match, it’s five tests and it’s gonna be difficult. Australia is a tough place to play.

Heaping praise on Root, he said his captaincy has “grown and grown in strength”, adding: “Joe Root’s absolutely brilliant and for England to have any chance to win these Ashes, I think Joe Root’s the man.”

Sidebottom said the late-night support “shows what cricket means to the public and the Barmy Army”, and recalled how knowing fans are behind you “gives you that extra 5, 10 per cent” as a player.

“For me to be here, to be part of the Barmy Army is wonderful, supporting the team and getting behind England as best they can, even though they’re not there, they’re there in spirit,” he said.

He added: “As England players it does mean a lot.”

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