Can the Poms get the better of Steve Smith at The Oval?
Can the Poms get the better of Steve Smith at The Oval?

Poms want to win at least one Smith battle

JOE Root hasn't given up hope of cracking the Steve Smith code as England push for a consolation victory in the fifth Ashes Test.

Root admitted after his team's loss at Old Trafford, which resulted in Australia taking a 2-1 series lead to retain the urn, that Smith had been the difference between the teams.

Australia's former captain has compiled a mountain of 671 runs at 134.2 this series, and needs 99 runs in the final Test to make it the most prolific series of his life.


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Root, who continues to face questions about whether he is the right man to lead England, is desperate to stop that happening in the clash that begins 8pm (EST) on Thursday.

"We'll keep looking at different ways to get him out and trying different things," Root said.

"He's played extremely well, not given many chances and we feel like in his first 20 balls we've beaten the bat a lot and it could have been very different.

"But he's managed to ride that out well and when he's got in, he's made it really count.

Joe Root hasn’t found a way to get the better of Smith yet.
Joe Root hasn’t found a way to get the better of Smith yet.

"Little things like that no-ball (that cost Jack Leach the wicket of Smith in Manchester) could have made a big difference but you can't look at ifs and buts, you got to look forward at this next Test.

"Make sure when we do create that chance we take it."

Root, who revealed Jason Roy and Craig Overton had been axed in favour of Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, remained adamant he is the right man to lead England.

"I know the direction I want to take this team," Root said.

"It is about starting that now and not after this series. It is important we win this game and have a really strong winter and move forward as a group.

"I have thrown everything into it. Absolutely given everything I can and sometimes you get outplayed, sometimes you come across someone who is in the form of his life.

"We have not lost anything yet. Yes we are disappointed but we are fully focused on doing everything we can to finish the series 2-2."