Root faces “sticky decisions” over bowling suit on Adelaide’s “thatch” pitch


Joe Root admitted that England faced “tough decisions” over who to make their XI for the day-night test in Adelaide, largely centered on the balance of attack and the role rotation could play.

The three rapids on display in Brisbane – Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson – were impressive for much of the second day before straining under the onslaught of Travis Head. However, James Anderson and Stuart Broad are both set to star in the pink ball encounter after being seated at the Gabba, while there is the looming decision on the position of left arm spinner Jack Leach after he gets 102 out of 13 overs.

Four years ago, England had Moeen Ali to provide the spin – although he went wicket-less through 29 overs – and played four specialist rapids, all of which are part of this tour. Whether they feel able to include Leach or spinner Dom Bess this time around may depend on Ben Stokes’ bowling ability in the wake of his broken knee at Gabba.

Nathan Lyon has an impressive record in day-night testing with 29 wickets at 27.41 (19-25.78 in Adelaide) and Head, who plays his domestic cricket for South Australia, expects the rotation is a key element on a surface which he described as “thatch”. . The forecast for Friday, the second day of the Test, also points to an expected high of 35 degrees.

As for Root, “[Spin] has generally been playing a good factor lately on this pitch, especially as the game progresses, so this is something we’ll have to look at. See where we are physically as a bowling group and how we can be balanced. “

It would be a brave move to replay Leach, although Root reiterated what he said following Brisbane’s loss in terms of the fields he defined and the way he used the spinning top.

“A lot of it comes back to me. It was a risk, it could have created a few chances and put a damper on their sleeves,” said Root. “I’m sure he [Leach] will want to respond and return to the series. I don’t think it’s that easy to take this as a concern, in fact you look at it they [Australia] grabbed an opportunity, played it pretty well, and if they try to do it on a little more responsive wicket, that puts him even more in the game. “

If Leach plays, that would mean two of the Rapids in the opening test would miss if Anderson and Broad both returned. “It’s not for our bowling demonstration why we didn’t win this game,” said Root. “They have set the standard for the tour now.”

England won just one of their four day and night tests – against the West Indies in Edgbaston – and were eliminated for 58 by New Zealand in Auckland, then lost in two days in the extraordinary match. against India earlier this year.

Root cautioned against being too engrossed in the nocturnal element of the test, but focused on realizing when conditions might call for a change in approach. The only time England got into the test four years ago was when Anderson, with his only five-wicket transport in Australia, and Woakes made the most of the nighttime session on day three. Match.

“From our point of view, it is not too much to think that [night-time] in part, ”he said. “There will be two game sessions where the sun is out, so it might not do as much. Don’t fall into the trap where he’ll turn around corners for five days, understanding the different challenges that a pink ball test on this terrain takes. Also, as a group of hitters, manage these different phases and find ways to make big totals.

“The most important thing in a hitting element is to recognize when those times are coming. It could be very good for the hitter, the sun, for a lot of the day, then you have to make sure that if it starts to move, you adjust and don’t lose three wickets in ten overs and let the Test ride on its head. “

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