Root set to defy Aussie taunts

England batsman Joe Root says he is eager to resume rivalries with Australia and bowler Mitchell Johnson in the second Ashes Test, which starts on Thursday.

England suffered a resounding defeat in the first Test when they failed to deal with Johnson’s pace as he took 9-103.

“It’s great – that’s why you play Test cricket, to get in confrontations and battles like that and try to be successful,” said Root, 22. “Bring it on. It should be good fun. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Root was dismissed for two in England’s first innings in Brisbane, before scoring a resolute 26 not out in the second innings.

His latter knock from 118 balls appeared to frustrate Johnson as the Aussie bowler aimed a sarcastic smile at Root, who refused to get drawn into the type of verbal confrontation which overshadowed the first Test.

“Guys are out there to win, and it’s all part of the game,” Root added.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to deal with it on the field and find your own way to cope,” he said. “If the International Cricket Council want to step in when they think things have gone too far, that’s up to them. But all we can do is control what we’re doing, and try to win the game for our country.

“I enjoy being out there, and the battles you get are all part of the game. I’m sure it will continue the whole series. If we perform well, that’s the best way of counter-acting it.”

Root opened with captain Alastair Cook in the summer Ashes series before batting at number six in the first Test.

Batting coach Graham Gooch has confirmed that either Root or Ian Bell will move to number three as England reshuffle their pack after Jonathan Trott returned home with a stress-related condition.

“It doesn’t matter to me, I just love playing for England,” said Root. “Regardless of whether I’m opening, three, five, six, it’s been brilliant.

“If I get the chance to do it, it would be a great challenge for me – and I’d love to do it.

“I don’t think it makes much difference. When you go out there, you can face a number of different situations, and it’s just making sure you’re well equipped to deal with them.”

Bowler Tim Bresnan’s fitness will be assessed before the second Test in Adelaide.

The 28-year-old was promoted to the senior squad after posting figures of 4-31 for the England Performance Programme against Queensland Second XI last week.

Bresnan is making his way back from a stress fracture of the back diagnosed after England’s win in the fourth Ashes Test of the previous series in Durham in August.

Batting coach Graham Gooch has confirmed that either Root or Ian Bell will move to number three as England reshuffle their pack after Jonathan Trott returned home with a stress-related condition.

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