Manchester, September 9
England have named an unchanged 13-man squad for the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia at the Oval in London which begins on Thursday.
Australia retained the urn after taking an unassailable 2-1 lead following their 185-run win in the fourth Test at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday. England are now looking to avoid their first series defeat at home to the visitors since 2001 when they lost 1-4 to an Australian side led by Steve Waugh. The match will be England head coach Trevor Bayliss’ final game in charge as his contract ends this month. England’s batsmen struggled to impose themselves at Old Trafford, with only three scoring half-centuries, and former fast bowler Bob Willis said Jason Roy should be dropped for the final Test after a string of failures.
Root lacks feel for captaincy: Boycott
Joe Root came out fighting after Australia retained the Ashes with a thrilling victory in the fourth Test but questions remain about his effectiveness as captain. The 28-year-old cut a rather forlorn figure as Australia celebrated moving 2-1 ahead in the series but insists he is still the right man to lead England forward.
This week’s Oval Test offers Root the chance of at least avoiding becoming the first England captain to lose a home series against Australia since Mike Atherton suffered that fate in 2001 — a result that prompted his international retirement. While Root remains England’s best batsman and is still in his prime, not all are convinced that he is getting the best out of his teammates with his decision-making during the four Tests so far against Australia being questioned. “Joe Root is such a likeable lad, a quality batsman and nobody wants to hurt or humiliate him but I’m afraid he lacks any feel for captaincy,” former England captain Geoffery Boycott said.
Scary that Smith is getting better: Paine
Australia captain Tim Paine has lavished praise on Steve Smith and termed him a genius following his brilliant run in the ongoing Ashes. “People don’t see how driven he is and how much he trains, eats and sleeps batting. He is just a genius and I never had any doubt that he would come back and be the player that he was. The scary thing is he’s getting better,” said Paine. — Agencies
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