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Key Ashes Battle: Root vs Smith

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Joe Root Steven Smith
Age 24 26
Test Matches 27 28
Runs 2273 2587
50s/100s 11/6 11/9
Best 200* 199

If either England or Australia are going to emerge victorious from this summer’s Ashes series, they will need their most exciting batsmen to be in form. Australian Smith is currently the number one ranked Test batsmen in the world, while Root has become more and more important for England since making his debut against India. If either batsmen can reach their best from, their country will be confident that they can emerge victorious and win the five match Test series.

Smith started off in the Australian team as an all-rounder. While his leg spin did not look like it would be good enough to get top players out, it soon became clear he was good enough to get into the side on his batting alone. Smith has spent most of his international career batting lower down the order at five or six, but has recently been moved up to the pivotal number three spot. The move has not seemed to affect the 26 year old’s form as he recently recorded his highest ever score in Test cricket, 199 against the West Indies.

While his batting is likely to cause England some headaches, his bowling may also prove problematic. England are well-known for struggling against spin and Smith may well be trusted by skipper Michael Clarke to back up Australia’s front line spinner, Nathan Lyon.

Root may only be 24 but his maturity and versatility has helped English cricket show signs of recovery following their poor World Cup campaign. After being moved around in the batting order, Root has found a home at number five and has been prolific in all forms of the game for England in the past year. With a Test match average of 54, Root may well be the wicket the Australians will want the most.

Having recently been appointed as vice-captain, Root comes into the series in good form, having been a key figure for England in their ODI series against New Zealand. Like Smith, Root may also get the chance to impress with the ball. He has eight Test wickets to his name and will hope to get the chance to add to his tally against the Australians.

Both Smith and Root will be key players for their teams this summer, and both are among the best batsmen in the world. If either player can perform at their best then the opposition captain will have their work cut out trying to get their wicket. Smith will be hoping to show the world why he is ranked as the best batsman in the world, while Root will be keen to demonstrate why he is so highly rated by England. While Smith is undoubtedly a talented player, Root will be used to English conditions and with the support of the home crowd, should have a bigger impact on the series than Smith.

ashes joe root Steven Smith

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