Joe Root admits he is savouring England’s white-ball dominance over Australia all the more after captaining his country to defeat in the Ashes.
Root led the tourists to a bruising 4-0 defeat in the Test series but since surrendering the urn he has personified a glaring shift in fortunes, coming to the fore in handsome one-day victories at the MCG and the Gabba.
After making 91 not out in the record chase in Melbourne he was again unbeaten as England chased down 271 in Brisbane, hitting 46 as he and Chris Woakes (39no) sealed a four-wicket win with more than five overs remaining.
Root had earlier chipped in with two for 31 as Eoin Morgan’s inspired decision to use his occasional off-breaks for seven overs struck gold.
“It’s a lot nicer than the other way round I’ll tell you that,” he said of the changing momentum.
“It’s been a tough tour. There are quite a few guys who have been involved in the Tests and we now have a great opportunity now to be really successful throughout this series.
“I’m still going about my cricket in the same manner, the same determination and drive. I was desperate to win that Test series and I’m desperate to win this white-ball series.
“It wasn’t very pretty for me today, there wasn’t a lot of finesse and it wasn’t always nice and easy on the eye but it was about being there at the end and winning the game.”
Root is only one step up from an occasional bowler at the highest level but he now has 43 international wickets across the three formats.
In taking the wickets of home captain Steve Smith and number four Travis Head, as well as keeping the rate in check throughout a disciplined spell, he put Australia under pressure and exposed their folly in dropping their own tweaker, Adam Zampa.
But he passed the credit to Eoin Morgan, who led his England selection for a record 70th time, eclipsing Alastair Cook as the most capped skipper.
“He just turned to me to try and sneak a few extra overs in and it went a little better than we all anticipated,” said Root.
“That’s quite smart captaincy from him, to be able to juggle things round and make sure he had plenty of options at the death was crucial.”
Smith, a near untouchable presence during the Ashes, has cut a much more troubled figure since trading his whites for Australia’s all-yellow kit.
He has now overseen just one win in the last 10 ODIs and become just the second Australian captain to lose a limited-overs match to England at their Gabba fortress.
“It was frustrating… we got ourselves into a reasonable position with 11 overs to go and everything fell to pieces again,” he said.
“Getting to 270 isn’t good enough against a quality batting line-up like England.
“They outplayed us again in every facet of the game. The next game in Sydney is obviously a do-or-die clash for us and we have to come out and play some better one-day cricket.”
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