Root to become danger man at six

17 November 2013

Joe Root

Joe Root's ego might have taken a hit, but the England batsman's demotion in the batting order spells problems for Australia in the Ashes series starting on Thursday.

Root was exposed by the Australian attack when opening the batting in the last series, but the baby-faced Yorkshireman has proven over 11 Test matches that he belongs at the highest level.

Recent Test opener Ed Cowan believes Root's ability and the experience gained at the top of the order have him primed to dominate at No.6, like Mike Hussey did for Australia.

With Michael Carberry to open at the Gabba, Root has received a reality check - his game isn't quite polished enough to open against Australia.

In England, he looked vulnerable whenever Australia pitched the ball up and was best known as the kid Dave Warner punched in a bar.

But even in a disappointing series, Root posted 180 at Lord's and has two centuries and an average of 40 from his 11 Tests, to go with an outstanding first-class record.

Batting at No.6 in the Ashes opener at the Gabba, Root can avoid the pressures associated with negotiating the early exchanges of a Test match, a challenge for any 22-year-old rookie.

Root, who debuted in the middle-order, has the shot-making to score quickly and a background as an opener which could prove invaluable for England when the second new ball comes into play.

"Like we saw with Mike Hussey's career I think it's a nice spot to bat No.6 if you have had experience against a new ball before," said Cowan.

"I like the look of Joe Root.

"Opening is a good place to learn about Test cricket. There's nowhere to hide and it was a bit of a baptism for him against some high class fast bowling in England.

"It's certainly an easier place to bat at No.6 than opening the batting so I think that will give him some confidence and he's playing nicely. He plays spin well and has a bit more maturity now."

Another former Australian opener Phil Jaques has been a teammate of Root's at Yorkshire for the past two seasons and the pair met in Sydney last week.

Jaques warns that Australia can expect to face a batsman renewed in confidence.

"I have no doubt he's more dangerous at six," said Jaques.

"I think Australia will be hoping they make early inroads so he's not coming in there with a 60 or 70-over old ball, because he is the sort of guy who can bat a long time.

"If he gets set before that second new ball comes he can do a lot of damage there and makes big hundreds. His appetite for runs is second to none."

Root says he's not too proud to cop his demotion on the chin and believes failing as an opener can improve him.

"I'm not that egotistical," he said.

"I definitely learnt a lot from it and I've got a lot of things out of it. There are parts of my game I've worked hard on from last summer... hopefully I can become a better player for it."

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