“You see it a lot in the modern game with the schedule the way it is, with the amount of white-ball opportunities there are around. Guys want to go and play in that. He’s had a slightly different journey to a lot of the other guys and has gained a lot of experience, whether it be under pressure in Twenty20 cricket and obviously the World Cup now as well, and I think that can stand guys in just as good a stead as three or four seasons in county cricket.”
Looking back on how England came to lose at Edgbaston, having been placed under growing pressure by Australia up to the moment at which the home side cracked on the final day, Root argued that the loss of James Anderson with injury had placed the entire team – batsmen and bowlers alike – in unfamiliar territory.
“I think it did harm us having only three bowlers,” Root said. “I think it caught up with us in the second innings. You set a team up in a certain way and then obviously the workloads got a lot more than we probably expected to, whereas Australia went into the game with that and are used to playing with a three-man seam attack. Whereas we, over a long period of time now, have gone with three seamers and Ben [Stokes] as an allrounder that offers a huge amount with the ball.
“These freak things happen sometimes and when you do get those extra workloads on a good wicket against someone playing as well as Steve did, makes it very difficult for you. It’ll be completely different this week, I’m sure. Every team has different ways of operating as well. Of course, you always want to control the scoreboard, taking wickets, going at two an over and bowling sides out for 100. It doesn’t always work like that.
“It’s how quickly you can adapt, knowing when to be a little bit more aggressive and when to suck it up, and are you skilful enough to manage that as a bowling group and me as the captain. That’s always the challenge and we’ll be exactly the same this week.”
Root is also conscious of Nathan Lyon, whose hold over England at Edgbaston grew in parallel to that of Australia’s as a whole. “I thought in the first innings we played him very well, and then as the conditions came more into his favour with the scoreboard pressure [Australia] had made it a lot easier for him to operate,” Root said of Lyon. “It’s a different pressure bowling it like that and he dealt with it very well. It’s fair to say, bar Jason [Roy], he bowled us out. So credit to him.
“We’ll have to make sure that if we find ourselves in a similar scenario throughout the four games we try and combat that a little bit differently, being a little bit smarter, trying to take those men around the bat out of the equation a little bit more. But it’s how you do that with minimal risk, which is always the art of batting especially in the fourth innings of the game – against a high-quality spinner like Nathan.”