Root tells Aussies to 'bring it on'

England skipper bullish about his side's chances in Ashes series, calls on batsmen to converts starts into centuries

Cricket Network will live stream England's tour match in Townsville on and the CA Live app

Joe Root has told Australia to "bring it on" if they set out to target him in the Magellan Ashes series, insisting England are better prepared for the host's aggression than four years ago.

Root's wicket will likely be the most prized English scalp this summer, given his standing as captain and world No.2 ranked batsman.

Australian spinner Nathan Lyon certainly had no doubt last week that he and the three-pronged pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood would make Root a hunted man across the five Tests.

Vice-captain David Warner, who had an off-field run in with Root in 2013, also called for umpires to be more lenient on sledging between the two rivals during the series.

But Root said if the Aussies wanted to go after him, beginning with next week's first Test at the Gabba, he would take it in his stride.

"I've heard a lot of chat about them targeting me in particular," Root said on Tuesday.

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"Bring it on, it's what it's about. You want that competitive element and there are little in-house rivalries.

"It should be a great series and they've got some great players within their squads and some good characters which will make for a great Test."

Regardless, Root insists the English are in a far better position for Australia's aggression than when they suffered just the third 5-0 Ashes whitewash in 2013-14.

Back then, Mitchell Johnson tormented the visitors with fast-paced short bowling, while Michael Clarke's infamous broken arm comment to tailender James Anderson highlighted the hosts' sledging.

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"I think last time maybe caught us out, I think we're a lot wiser to it this time around," Root said ahead of his side's last warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville, starting on Wednesday.

"We're expecting it to be hostile and a very loud and rowdy atmosphere (in the Tests). Hopefully we'll be in a really good place and ready for that.

"I think we've got our heads around what to expect. It's just making sure that we do everything we can to feel ready with the bat and the ball."

England's batting line up appears settled for the first Ashes Test and they will take the same top six into their final warm-up match as last week's tour game, meaning James Vince and Dawid Malan hold their spots at No.3 and No.5 respectively.

It means the more experienced Gary Ballance's chances of being recalled for the first Test are likely over, given he didn't play in either of the first two warm-up games, after being dropped during their summer.

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But no English player has made a century in any of their three innings on tour to date, despite a number passing 50.

It's something Root desperately to change in Townsville this week, especially after they lost 7-47 against a young CA XI last week in Adelaide.

"That's one of the things we really want to get out of this game - guys going on and making big hundreds," said Root.

"If we get the opportunity to do that, that's definitely the mentality of the batting side and that's something we have to have throughout the five Test matches.

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Former captain Alastair Cook has been among England's strugglers early in the tour. The England opener has scored just 47 runs at 15.66 in three innings, and twice copped balls on the upper body on Tuesday as part of a lengthy throw-downs session.

Senior pacemen James Anderson will miss the Townsville match due to illness, but there's no concern over his availability for the Gabba Test.

Meanwhile Craig Overton is firming to be England's replacement quick if Jake Ball fails to overcome an ankle injury.

Cricket Network will live stream England's tour match in Townsville on and the CA Live app

Click above to learn more about Townsville or watch the great video below!

A tour of Townsville with Andrew Symonds

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 INTL Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21