Joe Root sticks by decision to bowl despite England woes

Australia batsman Shaun Marsh jumps for joy after reaching his century. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA
Australia batsman Shaun Marsh jumps for joy after reaching his century. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA
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England coach Trevor Bayliss insists Joe Root remains at ease with his decision to bowl first even though Australia’s batsmen have since put the tourists in trouble in the second Test.

Shaun Marsh’s unbeaten 126 from number six helped Australia to 442 for eight, allowing Steve Smith to declare just when batting was about to become more difficult again under the Adelaide Oval lights on day two.

England were then doubtless relieved to see heavy drizzle return and restrict their reply to just 9.1 overs, in which they lost Mark Stoneman out of 29 for one at stumps.

Their position is not yet dire, if hardly promising, and Bayliss spelled out that Root would make the same marginal call again if he had the opportunity to do so.

“He wouldn’t do anything 
different,” insisted the Australian. “It’s well-documented that one of our challenges is taking wickets on flatter pitches, so Joe wanted to give our guys the best opportunity to take 20 wickets.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. It wasn’t taken lightly. We bowled pretty well and didn’t get the results we deserved.”

Bayliss was left wondering if England were suffering a 
little payback for the 2015 Trent Bridge Test, in which everything went perfectly as Stuart Broad took a brilliant career-best eight for 15 and Australia were bowled out 
for 60.

“That’s the game of cricket,” he said. “It might have evened it up from Trent Bridge two years ago, when they nicked everything.

“We’ve got to put up with it, and not let it frustrate us.”

England are lacking a bowler of out-and-out pace in this squad to compare with Australia’s Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, and are hoping Mark Wood may be able to prove his fitness in next week’s tour match in Perth – and then become a possible mid-series addition to their armoury.

Nonetheless, Bayliss added: “The bowlers we’ve got are more than capable of creating chances, which I thought we did. There’s no use wishing that someone else is going to come, with a click of the fingers. That’s all we’ve got.”

Once again, primarily on day one here, there were further instances of sledging between the players and Bayliss admits that the verbal confrontations are not a side of modern cricket which especially pleases him.

“Personally, probably not. That goes for both sides,” he said.

“I’d like to see the [stump] microphones turned down – I don’t think that’s necessarily a [good] thing for young kids watching.

“But it’s grown men, playing a very competitive sport and sometimes those emotions boil over.

“It’s just red-blooded young males competing against each other, [and] most of the time it’s fairly light-hearted.”

Marsh, meanwhile, could be rightly satisfied with his return to the home team at the age of 34, after his fifth Test century followed a 50 in Brisbane last week to silence those who queried his unexpected selection.

“I haven’t really thought about all the external noise, with my selection in the team,” said the son of former Australia opener Geoff. “I’m just really happy I’ve got this last chance, and with how it’s going.”