Root issues Johnson challenge

2013-12-01 14:01
Joe Root (AFP)

Adelaid - England batsman Joe Root has on Sunday challenged Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson to "bring it on" in this week's second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

Root, a contender to be promoted to the number three batting spot in the absence of Jonathan Trott, said it was exciting to face Johnson's thunderbolts at the first Gabba Test.

The 22-year-old Yorkshireman said he was putting faith in his ability to prepare as well as possible for another barrage from the left-arm speedster.

"It was probably close to it, yeah," Root told reporters when asked if Johnson's 150 km/h (93 mph) offerings were the quickest he had encountered.

"It's great. That's why you play Test cricket, is to get into battles like that, to get into confrontations like that and try to be successful in those situations.

"Bring it on on Thursday. It should be good fun."

Johnson was the man of the match in Brisbane with nine match wickets for 103 and scores of 64 and 39 not out.

The departure of Trott with a stress-related illness leaves number six Root and number five Ian Bell as possible first-drop players for England in Adelaide.

Uncapped pair Gary Ballance and all-rounder Ben Stokes are pushing for the vacancy in the top six, with Ballance appearing to have the edge after his 55 for England against the Chairman's XI in Alice Springs on Friday.

"It doesn't really matter to me," Root said, commenting on where he will bat.

"Just to represent my country regardless of opening, three, five, six, it's been brilliant.

"If I get the chance to do it, it will be a great experience.

"I'll just be making sure I prepare well over the next couple of days and go into that Test match, whether it be three or five, I'm comfortable and confident and ready to go regardless of the situation."

Root scored two in England's 136 all out in their first innings in Brisbane and was unbeaten on 26 in the second, as the tourists crashed to a total of 179 and a 381-run defeat.

His verbal clashes with the fired-up Johnson formed part of the theatre of the event and Root is expecting more of the same.

"It's all part of the game," he said.

"Whether you like it or not, you've got to deal with it on the field and find your own way of coping with it."

Root has scored 791 runs at 39.55 with two centuries in his 12 Tests.

Read more on:    the ashes  |  joe root  |  mitchell johnson  |  cricket

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