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Ashes: Joe Root defends toss decision, bowling choices after Gabba defeat.

England captain Joe Root defended his decision to bat first in the opening Ashes Test against Australia and stood by the selections in their bowling unit despite going down to a heavy nine-wicket defeat at the Gabba on Saturday.

Root won the toss on Wednesday and elected to bat in overcast conditions on a green-tinged track, but that decision backfired immediately with Rory Burns out first ball before England were skittled for 147.

“I think batting first was the right decision,” Root said, pointing out his Australia counterpart Pat Cummins had expressed a similar intention at the toss.

“We just didn’t quite play well enough in that first innings. We get some sort of a score on the board, see how wicket starts to behave today, and we’re looking at very different contexts.”

With seasoned paceman James Anderson not risked as he managed a calf issue, England had surprisingly opted to pick left-arm spinner Jack Leach ahead of veteran seamer Stuart Broad but that decision did not pay off either.

Leach bled 102 runs in his 13 overs for the sole wicket of Marnus Labuschagne.

Root said England had picked a spinner for variation and blamed himself for setting an overly “aggressive” field for the bowler.

“Probably more on my shoulders there and how I managed him rather than looking at the selection of how we went about things,” said the England captain.


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