England cannot rely on pink ball miracles in Adelaide, Joe Root warns

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Joe Root has warned his England side cannot rely on the pink ball to work miracles as they look to launch their Ashes fightback under lights at the Adelaide Oval.

Disappointment over the nine-wicket defeat in the first Test at Brisbane has been consigned to history, with the tourists now plotting their way back into the series in Thursday’s day/night clash in South Australia.

The hosts have a proud record in the format – played eight, won eight, including five at this ground – but the pink Kookaburra’s ability to perform tricks can be seductive.

Stuart Broad (left) walks through the outfield with James Anderson
The partnership of Stuart Broad, left, and James Anderson could prove crucial in Adelaide (Adam Davy/PA)

In 2017, England bowled Australia out for 138 in the second innings in dusky conditions, but only after watching them declare on 442 in the first.

“For us it’s about not falling into the trap of thinking it’s going to hoop round corners for five days,” said Root.

“There will be periods in this game where that takes a more prestigious role but one thing from our point of view is not overthinking that part of it.

England’s Joe Root during a press conference at the Adelaide Oval
Joe Root has urged his batters to find ‘ways to get through’ in the series (Jason O’Brien/PA)

“Also as a batting group, we need to be managing those different phases and finding ways to get through.”

England are likely to keep faith with the top seven that largely underperformed at The Gabba, where only Joe Root and Dawid Malan made half-centuries, but will be thinking hard about the make-up of their bowling line-up.

Record wicket-taker Anderson is a certainty to make the XI having been passed fully fit for action, but whether he will be joined by Broad remains to be seen. It could be that Ben Stokes holds the key.

England’s Ben Stokes tosses the ball
Ben Stokes is recovering from a knee injury (David Davies/PA)

If England are not convinced he can take a full share of the load this time, they would compensate by picking four specialist seamers and sacrificing Jack Leach’s spin, which was attacked so successfully in the first Test.

“We will find out about Ben over the next couple of days. He obviously had a bit of a jar in his knee in the last game,” said Root.

“Hopefully that is something he’s shaken off now and he can get back to full intensity but all options are on the table. We will have to manage that and see where we are at.

Stokes looked lively enough in nets practice when a bouncer hit Root on the helmet. Much to Stokes and England’s relief, his captain showed no ill effects from the blow.

Root offered wholehearted backing for opening bat Rory Burns, who booked himself an unwanted chapter in Ashes history when he lost his leg stump to Mitchell Starc off the very first ball of the series.

The left-hander’s confidence appeared to take a hit as he reversed his usual preference for kicking things off, retreating to the non-striker’s end at the start of the second innings and allowing Haseeb Hameed to face up.

Australian Captain Pat Cummins alongside England Captain Joe Root
Pat Cummins and Joe Root will do battle for the second time as opposing captains (Jason O’Brien/PA)

“He is someone who will get stuck in, he relishes a big occasion and the challenge and he stands up to it.

“If you look at his performances in the last Ashes series, he put in some really fine performances and played some great knocks. I’ve got no doubt about Rory in terms of his character. He will come back in and want a response and to put some big forms on the board.”

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