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England won't let standards drop, warns Root

 

Thirst for it: Joe Root is urging England to flourish against Ireland and set the tone for the forthcoming Ashes series
Thirst for it: Joe Root is urging England to flourish against Ireland and set the tone for the forthcoming Ashes series

By Duncan Bech

Joe Root has demanded England set the tone for the looming Ashes series by riding the wave of their World Cup triumph into their match against Ireland.

Lord's hosts the maiden Test between the rivals, starting today, less than a fortnight after staging one of the sport's greatest encounters in which New Zealand were dramatically toppled by Eoin Morgan's men.

Root, England's red-ball captain, has told those players involved in the World Cup that there can be no drop in standards as they plot the downfall of Australia that would cap a remarkable summer.

"We've taken a huge amount of confidence from the World Cup and that counts for a lot. It's something we must capitalise on going into a huge six Test matches," Root said.

"The message to the squad is to play with a huge amount of pride and passion. The intensity of this week will set the tone for the rest of the summer.

"As long as we apply ourselves in the right manner and go into this game exactly like that then we'll give a good account of ourselves. I do believe that.

"Of course it will be difficult, and there are different challenges this summer to previous ones, but it's a very exciting chance and there's a huge carrot at the end of it for everyone involved."

England will field two spinners for the four-day Test in Moeen Ali and Jack Leach, but Jimmy Anderson has been ruled out by a calf injury sustained on Lancashire duty this month.

England's leading wicket taker is expected to be available when the Ashes begins at Edgbaston on August 1.

"Jimmy would probably have been able to get through this Test match, but we're making sure he's absolutely right," Root said.

"The last thing we want is him carrying a niggle into a series. We're trying to be sensible about it, giving him as much time as possible to be 100 per cent fit. We're very confident he'll be fit."

Warwickshire pace bowler Olly Stone will make his Test debut, as will Jason Roy who will open the batting in the hope his devastating World Cup form can translate into the longer form of the game.

Root has revealed there will be no attempt made to curb the attacking instincts of the limited-overs specialist.

"We want Jason to go out and be himself, to express himself and trust his instincts," Root said. "He's got good instincts, he reads the game very well and he brings something different to our Test batting line-up.

"He's a very exciting prospect and a proved performer at international cricket. He's capable of making big contributions.

"I hope he doesn't try to play differently. We've seen throughout the World Cup that he can soak up pressure and trust his defence. It might be that he has to do that for longer in Test cricket. But there are times when he can put pressure back on to the opposition."

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