Vodafone Men's Ashes
England's bats need to support Root: Bell
Joe Root has come to Australia in career-best form, but Ian Bell says teammates must support their Test captain in the Ashes
1 December 2021, 04:25 PM AEST
Ian Bell has warned England's top order that Joe Root can't do it alone if they are to have any hope of regaining the Ashes.
Root has given himself the best build-up to an Ashes in his career, as he attempts to finally conquer Australia on their turf.
The 30-year-old has averaged 66.13 in Test cricket in 2021, with six centuries in the best calendar year of his career.
But he remains without a Test win in Australia, having failed to score a century in 17 innings in the country.
While Bell predicts this can be Root's best away Ashes, he knows the captain won't be able to carry the team's top order by himself.
Bell starred in England's only Ashes series win in Australia in the past 30 years, as one of five tourists to average more than 50 in the 2010-11 success.
He is adamant the current squad will need a similar haul of runs from the entire top order to be genuine contenders.
"It's about volume of runs," Bell, who is an assistant coach with BBL side the Hobart Hurricanes this summer, said.
"I look at the Australian attack, they're at full-strength, fully fit and all firing so that's a real challenge. So, England's going to have to score big runs.
"The top three (are key), I'm sure Australia are having meetings that they'll target them with the new Kookaburra ball to get Rooty in early (at No.4).
"I'm expecting a really good series from him, it's just can the rest of the batting line-up help him along the way.
"Those first-innings runs are going to be important."
Bell is certain England's quicks can stand up to the task, having previously battled to make an impact on flatter Australian wickets.
In particularly he believes Ollie Robinson can be a find for England, with his 196cm frame offering genuine bounce.
But again, he believes the top three are key.
Openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed have not played Test cricket in Australia before, nor has England's other option in Zak Crawl ey.
No.3 Dawid Mala n scored a century in the last Ashes tour, but also failed to pass 20 in five of his 10 innings.
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler should offer support in the middle order, but much will still fall to Root.
"The last 12 months has been incredible. As a player of spin, he is the best English player I've ever seen," Bell said.
"This will be his biggest challenges no doubt, but there's no doubt as a batsman, he's well up for it.
"For all of us as English players, this is the one place you want to come and win.
"Individually as well, you want to have that on your list of achievements to have batted well in these conditions."
Vodafone Men's Ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium