sport news England captain Joe Root brilliant and brave at the Gabba

Joe Root had a brilliant first day in the field as England captain in Australia. In previous away Ashes series it’s not always been easy to distinguish who is captain to be honest, but that could not be said here. 

With a smile on his face and exceptional body language, it was absolutely crystal clear who was in charge of this team.

There were some very carefully thought-out plans and field settings for various batsmen. For example, starting with a deep point for David Warner to cut off an area in which he scores a high percentage of boundaries – not worrying about his ego, or what people in commentary boxes might say - or the way he immediately went to Moeen Ali when the first wicket went down, acknowledging Usman Khawaja’s struggles against off-spin.

Joe Root had a brilliant first day in the field as England captain in Australia at the Gabba

Joe Root had a brilliant first day in the field as England captain in Australia at the Gabba

With a smile on his face and exceptional body language, it was clear who was in charge

With a smile on his face and exceptional body language, it was clear who was in charge

Root had some very carefully thought-out plans and field settings for various batsmen

Root had some very carefully thought-out plans and field settings for various batsmen

In fact, Khawaja’s career contrast between playing seam and spin is remarkable. Ahead of this series, his Test average at home – where pace bowlers dominate – was 63.73, but he wasn’t picked for the turning pitches of India earlier this year, then got left out after one Test in Bangladesh.

He’s got a weakness, Australia know it, he knows it and Root wanted to show he knows it too at a time when and a venue where it would have been easy to stick with his seamers. Khawaja still plays the old-fashioned way against spin, with

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