Joe Root banks on ‘golden’ England generation

England's Joe Root attempts to take a catch during a nets session at the WACA Ground, Perth. Pic: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire
England's Joe Root attempts to take a catch during a nets session at the WACA Ground, Perth. Pic: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire
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Joe Root is banking on England’s senior players to keep his team in the Ashes.

England will begin the third Test in danger of losing the urn before Christmas unless they can rewrite history.

The tourists have won just once at the WACA, since their first visit in 1970 – and from 2-0 down with three to play this winter, they need at least a draw this week to stay in the series.

Root acknowledges the situation is critical in a campaign beset by off-the-field controversy to accompany two wide-margin defeats.

A curfew has been in place, after the furore over Jonny Bairstow’s ‘headbutt’ greeting for Cameron Bancroft – then after it was relaxed, Ben Duckett poured a drink over James Anderson’s head.

Root cannot afford those distractions to persist. He’s hoping Stuart Broad and record-breaking pair Anderson and Alastair Cook will supercharge England.

“We know what’s at stake ... the enormity of it” he said.

“This is an opportunity to create history; a real chance to flip the dynamics of this series on their head. And if we do come away 2-1 from this game, it blows the series wide open.”

The golden generation of 30-somethings will perhaps soon start to turn silver – but in Broad and Anderson and opener Cook, the pedigree is undeniable.

“It probably will take one of the senior players to grasp that and really take it on and do something special this game, and there is no reason why we can’t do that,” added the Sheffielder.

“When it is as big a game as this, your senior players are under more pressure than the rest... because there is that expectation there, they’ve done it before and have all that experience to call upon.

“We are very fortunate to have him (Cook) and Jimmy and Stuart who have done some very special things - record-breakers in terms of English cricket. For young guys to learn from them and to see how they operate - can only be invaluable.”

Anderson recalled his bar-room dousing from Duckett in a newspaper column which also covered England’s slow start with the ball to the second Test in Adelaide, where he hinted better communication with the coaching staff might have helped.

Root is having little of that, though.

“I think the relationship has been really good,” he said.

“We got it wrong on the field... we all knew that was the case, and it’s probably slightly harsh to put the blame on to the coaches.

“I think ultimately us guys on the field, we’re the ones responsible for what we are doing out there.

“We have to be smarter, react quicker. I take responsibility for that as well, as captain.”