England aim to build on Stokes’s heroics as Australia look to Smith

Manchester, United Kingdom, Sept 4 (AFP/APP):Joe Root wants England to make the most of still being “very much alive” in the Ashes when the fourth Test against Australia starts at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Australia were on the brink of retaining the Ashes only for Ben Stokes’s superb 135 not out to guide England to a stunning one-wicket win in the third Test at Leeds.

The all-rounder’s Headingley heroics have left the five-match series poised at 1-1 with two to play.
“He’s very passionate and just a genuinely good bloke. When you combine that with the skill and ability he has it’s a great combination,” said England captain Root of Stokes, his deputy.

England’s remarkable win at Root’s Yorkshire home ground captured the attention of home fans, with the skipper insisting: “It’s a big lift for the whole squad, for that game to unravel how it did and for us to turn up here full of confidence and very much alive in this series.

“I feel that everyone has really got behind both teams, especially off the back of the last week in Test cricket. It’s great to see Test cricket seen in that light in this country, and globally as well.”

Meanwhile, under-fire Australia captain Tim Paine said: “I haven’t lost a hell of a lot of sleep thinking about my captaincy but I have lost a bit of sleep thinking how we’re going to get him (Stokes) out.

“He’s a class player and he’s really confident at the moment,” admitted the wicketkeeper, looking to lead Australia to their first Ashes series win in England in 18 years.

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