Irish Times – Joe Root may never be able to sport a beard as thick as the one that led to Mike Brearley being dubbed the Ayatollah during the 1978-79 Ashes but when it comes to assessing his first experience of captaining England in Australia, some encouraging growth can be reported.

Summary

  • Joe Root may never be able to sport a beard as thick as the one that led to Mike Brearley being dubbed the Ayatollah during the 1978-79 Ashes but when it comes to assessing his first experience of captaining England in Australia, some encouraging growth can be reported.
  • When Cameron Bancroft, the debutant opener, nicked off to Stuart Broad in the fourth over, Root wasted little time – and cared not for the fleeting shine of the Kookaburra ball – before introducing Moeen Ali into the attack.
  • But an achilles heel against the spinners, one that means he is not trusted in the subcontinent, was identified by England and when Moeen ripped his first ball to the left-hander past the outside edge, before trapping him plumb lbw next up, it was as much a win for the captain as the bowler.
  • In all the hoopla that came in the weeks and days leading into this series, a curious omission from much of the analysis was that Root has the world’s No1 bowler at his disposal.
  • On a day when Anderson bowled with impeccable control, a full straight delivery with the ball undercut in release crashed into the right-hander’s pads to make it 76 for four.


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