Joe Root satisfied with England display on opening day of tour

Published: Monday 5th October 2015 by The News Editor

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Joe Root could reflect with personal satisfaction after England’s batsmen proved a qualified success on day one of their tour of the United Arab Emirates.

England began the first of two warm-up matches against Pakistan A in Sharjah seeking answers to three questions above all which must be answered in time for next week’s first Test.

After four individual half-centuries in their 286 for six, they had one affirmative, one ongoing issue and another which will have to wait until they bowl on the second day.

Root returned from the break prescribed in his hectic schedule, from the Royal London Series against Australia, with a contribution befitting one of the world’s highest-ranked batsmen.

It was arguably even more encouraging for England that his fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow top-scored with an unbeaten 66 in an all-White Rose unbroken century stand of 103 with Adil Rashid.

Set against those innings was an unconvincing 22 from Moeen Ali which will surely mean he must provide more evidence, in a second meeting with the same opponents at this venue, of his readiness to become Alastair Cook’s new Test opening partner in Abu Dhabi next week.

Rashid, meanwhile, confirmed his adaptability with the bat and will next be required to show he can also exploit spinners’ pitches in these searing temperatures.

Root, for one, is convinced it is most certainly a case of so far so good.

“You want to start the tour as you mean to go on,” said the vice-captain.

“Personally, it was great … very valuable … facing lots of overs of spin which, after an English summer, is not something you’re necessarily accustomed to.

“It’s very pleasing to see us start off as well as this on the first day of our trip.”

There was a half-century too for Cook in conditions which put a premium on patience and concentration.

“It’s going to be hard work,” Root added. “But there’s no point moaning about it. ‘Poor me’ is not for our team, w e’ve just got to get on with it.

“It was a pitch that did spin from pretty much the start … and I think we played it really well.

“We’ll be accustomed to it by the time that first Test comes and we hope we can be at our absolute best for then.”

Root is among a clutch of regulars in all formats who face a daunting winter schedule, and he believes his rest last month can only have helped.

“I definitely feel like I benefited from it,” said the Yorkshireman.

“It’s very important that you don’t drop off … lose performance through tiredness or over-playing.

“I feel really fresh now and raring to go for this series.

“I’ll crack on now and make sure I’m absolutely ready for whatever Pakistan throw at us in that first game.”

Bairstow remains firm favourite to be the Test number five – although it is possible England may give his understudy James Taylor an opportunity later this week.

Root said: “Jonny’s played really well today.

“I know he’s desperate to go on and prove himself as an international cricketer.

“He’s shown today that he can play in these conditions and it’ll give him a huge amount of confidence leading up to the series.”

Published: Monday 5th October 2015 by The News Editor

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