Lady luck and Yorkshire grit helps Joe Root rescue England on Day One of the Ashes

Joe Root fires one off to the boundary
Joe Root fires one off to the boundary

England’s man of the moment Joe Root put his side’s day one Ashes fightback down to a slice of luck and a dash of “Yorkshire grit”.

When Root arrived at the crease Australia had their hosts wobbling at 43 for three having opted to bat first.

Root was then dropped on nought by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, a slice of luck he cashed in on to the tune of 134 runs as England ended the day on a promising 343 for seven.

Root’s fine form is fast becoming a given but he was aided this time by a brave 61 from county colleague Gary Ballance, who sustained several bruises as he battled both Mitchell Johnson and his own dip in form.

“Obviously, it wasn’t pretty at times, but it was vital that we got a decent partnership,” said Root of the stabilising 102-run stand.

“When you come into positions like that, after losing three wickets quite quickly, you’re going to get opportunities to score - because they’re going to have aggressive fields.

“It could have gone completely the other way - I could have got out second ball, then you look a little bit silly - but I had that fortune today, and could cash in and make the most of it.

“And Gary was so important for us - the mental strength he showed, determination and Yorkshire grit...the way he went about things was really pleasing to watch at the other end.

“That’s why he’s so integral to our team.”

When this match is filed away in the record books it is possible that Haddin’s one-handed spill could be seen as the decisive moment. If Root goes on to enjoy a prolific series it may be even more critical than that.

But the 24-year-old was mindful he could easily have been brooding over a duck, a price he feels would have been worth paying for committing to aggressive methods.

“There will be times when it doesn’t quite come off, and you look slightly stupid and play what looks like a horrendous shot and get out - but those are the sort of risks we’re taking by playing this attacking cricket,” he said.

“We want to continue to do that and really put sides under pressure whenever we can.

“It’s something we’ve been trying to work on since the start of the summer. It’s an approach we took against New Zealand, and it worked out really nicely.