England motivated by Australia’s behaviour

England will use Australia’s behaviour after winning the first Ashes Test as motivation for the second match in Adelaide on Saturday, says Joe Root.

Captain Steve Smith was laughing in the news conference as opener Cameron Bancroft described being ‘headbutted’ by England’s Jonny Bairstow in a bar.

“You are disappointed to see a reaction like that in a press conference,” said England skipper Root, 26.

“If that’s not motivation to the players, I don’t know what is.”

Both Bairstow and Bancroft described the incident in Perth in October as without “malice”, but Root and coach Trevor Bayliss had to defend England’s players following the 10-wicket defeat in Brisbane.

Bancroft had Smith and the media laughing with his account of the ‘headbutt’, described by England director of cricket Andrew Strauss as “a bump of heads”.

“Hopefully that will work massively in our favour,” said Root.

“Knowing the characters in our dressing room, that will really give them a bit of something else to make sure we put things right this week.”

The second Test of the five-match series begins at 04:00 GMT on Saturday at the Adelaide Oval.

Spinner Moeen Ali will undergo a fitness test to see if he able to bowl after a split finger caused him discomfort during the first Test. But Root said he will play as a specialist batsman regardless.

England will name their final XI after they have practiced under lights on Friday evening.

The incident involving Bairstow and Bancroft came to light after comments by Australia players towards Bairstow were heard on the stump microphone during England’s second innings.

Smith said the remarks were aimed at unsettling Bairstow, and batsman Peter Handscomb described it as some of Australia’s “smartest” sledging.

“It’s something you expect when you come here,” said Root.

Asked if he thought the hosts had “crossed the line”, he said: “Their line and our line are slightly different things.

“I wouldn’t say I’m angry. The thing that is on my mind is how we respond to it and make sure we do it in our way and not get dragged in to doing it in their way.”

England are without all-rounder Ben Stokes in Australia as he awaits the outcome of a police investigation following his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in September.

Stokes was part of an incident outside a Bristol nightclub that left one man with a fractured eye socket. He has been made unavailable for England selection until further notice.

However, he signed for New Zealand side Canterbury on Thursday and is expected to play in their domestic 50-over competition on Sunday.

“All of our planning and preparation has been without Ben so how we go about things won’t change,” said Root.

“I would love to have him back, but these things are completely out of our hands and we just have to move on.”

When Stokes was pictured at Heathrow airport on Monday, it led to speculation he was on the way to join England in Australia.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will not alter its stance while Stokes awaits a decision on a potential charge.

With that not expected for several weeks, he seems set to miss the entire Ashes series.

Asked for his opinion on Stokes being allowed to play for Canterbury but not England, Root said: “It won’t help if I say I agree or I don’t.

“When I saw the pictures of him at Heathrow I was wondering whether he was just going on holiday with his England bag, just to wind people up.

“Whether he’s here in Australia, in New Zealand or back home, the stance is the same. Until that changes there is no point in thinking otherwise.” (Courtesy BBC)


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