Jonny Bairstow: England will give it all for Joe Root | Cricket | Sport

2 months ago
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England’s wicketkeeper-batsman maintained a 5-0 scoreline is not on the agenda for Root’s men despite losing the first three Tests of the series by big margins.

And with their skipper coming under fire from former Test great Ricky Ponting who criticised his leadership style, Bairstow says there is a new determination in the squad to answer back on the field.

“We absolutely owe it to Joe, there’s no question of that. But we don’t just owe him we owe ourselves as well. You don’t come away and work as hard as we’ve worked to get nothing out of the tour.

“You can talk as much as you want to talk about the whitewash – but in our minds, it’s not on the agenda.

“Without a doubt, in our eyes it is [now] a two-Test series. That’s exactly how we’ve got to look at it.

“Let’s try to put things right that we haven’t previously – start with a clean slate. That may free up some of the lads.”

England go into the Boxing Day Test three down in the series and without paceman Craig Overton, who has not recovered from his cracked rib in time.

England will make a late call on his replacement after having a look at the wicket at the MCG but it seems likely that Tom Curran will pip Mason Crane for the fourth bowler’s spot.

Australia are struggling with injuries, too.

Mitchell Starc is set to miss out after the series leading wicket-taker arrived in Melbourne on crutches following his bruised heel, with Jackson Bird filling in.

However Tim Paine is expected to be fine to play despite being given compassionate leave following his father-in-law suffering a stroke.

Ben Stokes has decided to cut short his time with Canterbury to go back to the UK to spend Christmas with his family.

The England all-rounder is currently waiting on a decision by police on whether he will be charged following his arrest in Bristol in September but signed as an overseas player for Canterbury at the end of November.

Stokes played white ball cricket for Canterbury, striking struck form, with a match-winning 93 during a T20 encounter last week.

As things stand Stokes remains in the England 16-man squad for the one-dayers in Australia and New Zealand in January and February but is highly unlikely to figure.

However Tom Harrison, chief executive of the ECB, yesterday conceded that Stokes will be given leave to participate in the Indian Premier League.