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Root raring to go

Joe Root speaks exclusively to ecb.co.uk after England warmed up for the Ashes with victory in Sydney

Joe Root is undeterred by the prospect of moving back down to number six, insisting he “just loves playing for England”.

A battling slot was available at the start of the tour and it is Michael Carberry, a natural opener, who looks to have edged out Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes.

The Hampshire batsman has reached 50 in each of the three warm-up games and heads into next week’s Ashes opener in Brisbane brimming with confidence.

Root, who struck his maiden Test century from number five against New Zealand this summer, is subsequently expected to head back to the middle order having opened the innings against the old enemy in the reverse series.

“I just love playing for England and to get the opportunity to bat at six is fantastic and I am just really excited for the series,” he told ecb.co.uk.

That excitement has cranked up a notch for the precocious batsman, who helped England to a seven-wicket win against an Australia Invitational XI.

Indeed, his first appearance for England in an Ashes Test Down Under is now less than a week away.

“Now this game is out of the way, you start thinking about the real thing,” he added.

“All the lads have told us how much they enjoyed it last time around. I just want to get out there and make the best of it.”

Uncharacteristic inclement weather around Australia had meant England’s preparations were significantly hindered heading into their final tour game.

Despite rain rearing its ugly head again over the four days at the SCG, this week’s preparation was perfect as bowlers got miles in their legs and all batsmen made runs.

“Everyone has contributed in some shape or form so everyone’s personal game looks in good order, while their confidence will be really good going into next week,” said Root.

“The lads got a lot of overs under their belt and bowled very well as a unit. It didn’t always go our way but they bowled exceptionally well.”

The only cloud hanging over England is the fitness of Matt Prior, who remains a doubt for the opener with a calf injury.

“He is coming on nicely,” reported Root. “The next four days are crucial and I am sure he will be doing everything he can to make sure he is on the park.” 

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