Joe Root has backed himself "beating a hundred" while England faces a mandatory Boxing Day test in Melbourne and says he awaits a response from his team after successive defeats from Ashes. The English captain has never hit triple digits in Australia, but he came close on the first Test in Brisbane (89) in the nine wicket losses before hitting 62 in Adelaide when they crashed with 275 runs. So far, he and Dawid Malan are the only English players who are half a century old who know they need to convert their good starts into big results in order to give the team hope of returning to the five test series.
"I feel in a really good place with my drums," Root, who broke a record in 2021, told English media.
"I'm confident that I can beat hundreds in the next three games under these conditions. I know that's a bold statement, but my conversion rate this year has not been a problem at all.""I expect a reaction from our players and I want to take home a nice Christmas present for everyone who stays up."
Root was only the fourth player in history - and the first since 2008 - to loot 1,600 Test runs in a calendar year during the Adelaide Test, but a first century in Australia has always eluded him.
Never again have visitors needed their skipper - they must beat Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to keep their hopes of winning the series alive.
Malan admitted Thursday that there had been open discussion after Adelaide when a first inning breakdown combined with bad bowling and bad fielding cost England the game, with Root not holding back.
"I will always try to take a factual, pragmatic approach to things," said the captain, who has been criticized by the English media for some of his decisions in Australia.
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"But I don't think you could after we've played the last two games. I expect an answer from everyone this week. I just hope it's not too late."
"There is a lot of motivation for the group and we are doing everything we can to make sure the score is 2-1 when we leave here (Melbourne)."