The Ashes: As England seeks to build a comeback, Joe Root is optimistic of reaching a century in the Boxing Day Test

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The Ashes
Source: Skysports

The Ashes: Joe Root has predicted that he will “knock out a hundred” in the Boxing Day Test, promising England fans a response with the Ashes on the line.

After a nine-wicket defeat in the first Test at Brisbane and a 275-run defeat in the day-night Test in Adelaide, the tourists must beat Australia in Melbourne to keep their hopes of reclaiming the urn alive.

After the tourists fell behind 2-0 on Monday, captain Root led a dressing room debrief, which head coach Chris Silverwood said generated “honest discussions” among the players about their series shortcomings.

“I’m expecting a response from our players, and I’d like to send everyone that stays up a pleasant Christmas present,” he said.

“With my batting, I’m in a really good spot. In these conditions, I am convinced that I can hit a hundred in the next three games.

“I realise that’s a bold statement, but my conversion rate hasn’t been an issue this year.

“I believe I’ve done a good job of managing my time and am aware of how I want to score my runs. There’s clarity there; all I have to do now is keep putting myself in those places, maintain the bit between my teeth, and (make it) ‘over my dead corpse.'”

Root, 30, has had a record-breaking 2021, with 1,630 Test runs putting him in fourth place all-time for a calendar year.

However, he now has eight unconverted fifties on Australian soil with scores of 89 and 62 in the first two Tests, with Marnus Labuschagne displacing him as the world’s No. 1 Test batter on Wednesday.

With a chuckle, he remarked, “I’ve never been one for such stuff, but it would be lovely to have it back for Christmas.”

At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Rory Burns is due to be sacrificed for a returning Zak Crawley at the top of the order, with Jonny Bairstow threatening Ollie Pope’s spot and Mark Wood slated to replace Chris Woakes.

If England reverts to spinner Jack Leach, they will make four changes, but they will study the pitch over the next 48 hours before making a decision.

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