England captain Joe Root is adamant his side will “come back strong” as they look to draw level in the Ashes.
Root’s men head into the second Test at Lord’s starting on Wednesday 1-0 down in a five-match series following a 251-run hammering by Australia at Edgbaston last week and knowing another defeat would leave their hopes of regaining the Ashes hanging by a thread.
“Last week will have hurt everyone,” Root told reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday. “Everyone will be absolutely desperate to go and win this week and I expect nothing less. We really back ourselves to perform and to come back strong. We’ve proven that we do that time and time again when we’ve been defeated, especially at home. And I’m expecting a big response from the boys.”
The Yorkshire batsman also said that England will have to think again about how to dismiss Australian batsman Steve Smith who virtually won the first Test single-handed with innings of 144 and 142.
“In the second innings, we tried to chase things a little bit,” said Root. “We maybe tried to be slightly too aggressive early on to him, let him get in. So I think we’ll go about things slightly differently.”
Wednesday’s match will see Smith and Tim Paine, who took over as Australia captain after the former was stripped of the leadership following the South Africa ball-tampering affair in 2018, back at the ground where they both made their Test debuts against Pakistan in 2010.
For Paine it has been a nine-year wait to return to the ‘home of cricket’.
“I’m rapt to be playing international cricket again and to have a second opportunity,” said the 34-year-old wicketkeeper. “To have the captaincy is a great honour as well. It’s certainly one I didn’t want or expect, but doing the job now, I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”
Almost a decade on, Paine does not recall much from a Test debut that Australia won by 150 runs.
“I remember a lot of nerves. I don’t remember a huge amount from the day…Ricky Ponting giving me my cap, and Steve (Smith), but I can’t remember a word he said. Having made my Test debut here that ground is always going to be special but for it to be here, it’s a special ground for all cricketers,” he added. “We’re rapt to be here, we love playing cricket at Lord’s.”
Australia have a fine record at Lord’s, having won 17 — including that win over Pakistan and another over South Africa in 1912 — and lost only seven of the 38 Tests they have played there since 1884.
An 18th win will all but ensure that Paine’s Australians retain the Ashes.