Joe Root is confident England’s latest collapse against an Australia pace attack led by Mitchell Johnson won’t still haunt them come the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston starting on Wednesday.
Left-arm fast bowler Johnson took 37 wickets at 14 apiece as Australia thrashed England 5-0 on home soil to regain the Ashes in 2013/14. Johnson, however, was mocked by England fans while going wicketless during the first innings of Australia’s 169-run defeat in Cardiff in the opening match of the current Ashes campaign.
It was a very different story in the second Test at Lord’s, though, where Johnson had match figures of six for 80 during Australia’s crushing 405-run win that levelled the five-match series at 1-1.
England captain Alastair Cook may be in better form than Australia counterpart Michael Clarke but that counted for little as the hosts, with Johnson taking three cheap wickets, slumped to a humiliating 103 all out in their second innings.
But a defiant Root said of Johnson, "It’s wrong to single one man out. You look at Cardiff and he only got two expensive wickets so it’s about putting him under pressure."
England have responded to their drubbing at Lord’s by dropping Gary Ballance and promoting the experienced Ian Bell — himself struggling for runs — to Ballance’s positon of number three, with Jonny Bairstow coming into the side at the expense of his Yorkshire colleague.
Australia left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc was not concerned by England’s attempts to stabilise a top order that has been 43 for three or worse seven times in their past 13 Test innings and promised there would be no let-up from the tourists’ pace attack.
"I am sure we will be following suit from what Mitch (Johnson) dished up at the end at Lord’s," said Starc. "It is great to see a few of the guys jumping about, and we got a few wickets that way."