New batting crew showed great skill, temperament and character, says Root

captain Joe Root hailed the efforts of England's batting newcomers, but admitted that his side must be more ruthless to retain the Ashes.

England captain Joe Root pictured at The Gabba, Brisbane (Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire).
England captain Joe Root pictured at The Gabba, Brisbane (Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire).

England went 1-0 down in the five-match series yesterday when they crashed to a 10-wicket defeat against Australia in Brisbane.

Root praised the performances of Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Dawid Malan, who each made important contributions in the tourists’ first innings.

The trio marked their first appearances in Ashes cricket with gutsy half-centuries, Vince top-scoring with 83, Malan making 56 and Stoneman striking 53.

But with Root (51) the only England player to pass fifty in the tourists’ second innings, as his side were bowled out for 195 having only been 26 runs behind on first innings, the need for more match-winning contributions is evident.

Root’s counterpart, Australian captain Steve Smith, showed the way with an unbeaten first innings century, while opening batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft struck unbeaten 80s as the hosts completed an ultimately comfortable win after England had gone toe-to-toe in the first three days.

Commenting on England’s new batting crew, Root said: “To come into an Ashes series first time round away from home and play like that was exceptional and showed great temperament, great skill and great character.

“I think that bodes really well for us moving into the series, and we have got to harness that and move forward as a group and hopefully turn those starts into big hundreds.”

Reflecting on the margin of defeat, the Yorkshireman added: “It doesn’t really feel like a 10-wicket defeat. We came here fully confident we could get the win.

“For three days we were excellent, but we missed a couple of chances with the bat and the ball.

“We prepared very well in the warm-up games, played three days of excellent cricket, and it’s about making sure it’s five days next week,” he added as thoughts now turn towards Saturday’s second Test in Adelaide.

Root is confident that Moeen Ali will be “fine” for that match, with the off-spinner having suffered a cut to his index finger at the Gabba.

He added that there are no concerns over pace bowler James Anderson, who spent time off the field on the third day in Brisbane.

“One thing that stands out about our team is we have great character, and over the last year or so we’ve come back from difficult situations,” he said.

“We’ve bounced back straight away, and that’s the mentality we’re going to have to have next week.”

Smith admitted that his side were pushed by England in the first half of the Brisbane game.

“We had to work really hard there, and I thought the bowlers did a terrific job to get them out for 300 in the first innings,” he said.

“We played some really good cricket after losing the toss on what was a really good wicket.”