PERTH: Captain Joe Root has challenged his England team to stand up and keep the Ashes series alive in Thursday’s crucial third Test against Australia in Perth. Root, who admits he is “fed up” talking about off-field issues, said it was time for his teammates to prove why they have been chosen to play.
The tourists are on the precipice, trailing Australia 2-0 in the five-Test series, battling to avoid another heavy defeat that would hand back the Ashes urn to Steve Smith’s team. To keep the series alive Root’s men must not lose at the WACA Ground where England last won in 1978. “It’s time to stand up,” Root said Wednesday. “These are the games that when you get them right, they really hit home with people. “And that’s what people want to see — in the face of adversity, people stand up and really put in those big performances and prove why they have been selected to play for England.
“That’s the opportunity that’s in front of this group, to go and win here at the WACA for the first time in a long time, by playing well for longer. If we get that right, there is no reason we can’t be sat here at 2-1 next week.” England are facing the spectre of repeating the 5-0 series humiliation on their last tour to Australia where Jonathan Trott returned home after the first Test, Graeme Swann retired and following the tour coach Andy Flower resigned.
Root admitted he was sick and tired with the team’s off-field alcohol-related incidents, which began before the tour when Ben Stokes was banned from international cricket while authorities probe his alleged involvement in a fight outside a nightclub. Scandals involving Jonny Bairstow and Ben Duckett have further harmed the touring team’s reputation.