Hosts Australia put their act together and outclassed England in the 1st Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane. England will be looking forward to making a comeback, but the injury issues which have pegged them right from the start of the tour have come back hurting them yet again with all-rounder Moeen Ali having a concern with his bowling finger. However, skipper, Joe Root was confident that Moeen would play even if he is not 100% fit.
“I think he would still play”, said Root. “Even if he was not fully fit to bowl,” Root said. He also made his intentions clear of keeping Moeen at No 6 with Jonny Bairstow at 7. “Mo has been outstanding recently,” he said. “He’s just had a wonderful summer. He deserves that chance at six and Jonny at seven knows how to get the best of the tail.”
England is expected to play the same XI in the 2nd Test starting tomorrow with very less possibility of Jake Ball getting replaced with potential Craig Overton. Contrary to that Aussie skipper Steven Smith confirmed that they would be playing the same XI on a surface that was a “bit more harder and less grassy” than the pitches produced in Adelaide in the recent past.
“It could be a bit damp and cool and that should play into our hands,” he said. He further expressed confidence in the veteran customer Alastair Cook who merely contributed 9 runs in the opening Test in Brisbane. I’m not losing sleep over him. He’s a world-class act,” Root said.
Speaking on sledging Root said that one expects to sledge in an Ashes Test which is the oldest cricketing rivalry in the history.
“I think you come to expect it [sledging] in Ashes cricket and you’ve got to make sure you deal with it. It’s not something that’s new to us as a side. There is a place for a bit of banter on the field as long as it stays as banter and it doesn’t become more than that. If it does the umpires need to make sure it has a line that’s stopped at by both sides.
“You don’t want it to become a series where the umpires are telling guys to get on with the game and getting involved at every single opportunity. You want there to be a bit of niggle out there and a bit of banter flying around. That’s good for the game; it’s good to watch; it’s good to be involved in; it makes for good television. But there are certain things that people know they should and shouldn’t say on a field and it’s important that both sides – not just one side, both sides – get that right and have enough respect for each other not to overstep the mark”.
He was diplomatic when asked whether the Aussies crossed the line during the Bairstow incident and said that the interview should ask Bairstow instead.
“You’d have to ask him. I’ve not really had a good enough conversation to find out. In his case I’d like to think they know where/when to stop and when too far is too far. If they have gone too far then it says more about them than it does about anything else”.