Ashes 2023: Joe Root isn't a bowler to be ignored, says Michael Atherton as Australia look to chase 281 runs

By India Today Sports Desk: Former England captain Michael Atherton has said that Joe Root is not a bowler to be ignored. Australia need 174 more runs to win the first match of the five-match Ashes 2023 series at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Ashes 2023: Full Coverage

Speaking to BBC Sport, Atherton said England all-rounder Moeen Ali is not as accurate as Australia spinner Nathan Lyon but is a big spinner of the ball like him. Lyon picked up four wickets in England’s second innings, restricting them to 273.

“You hope Moeen can bowl through the pain because we saw some serious turn for Lyon. He is not as accurate as Lyon, not as good a bowler, but he is as big a spinner of the ball as him,” said Atherton.

He went on to say that Root is not a bowler to be ignored, adding that he has nearly 60 wickets in Test cricket. Root scored an unbeaten century in the first innings and chipped in with 46 runs in the second but failed to pick any wickets during Australia’s first innings.

“Don't forget Root's off-spin. He has nearly 60 Test wickets and is accurate. If the pitch does spin, he is not a bowler to ignore,” Atherton added.

Australia bowled England out for 273 runs on Day 4, with Cummins and Nathan Lyon picking up four wickets each. Root, Harry Brooks and Ben Stokes were the top-scorers for the hosts, chipping in with 46, 46 and 43 respectively. The Baggy Greens now need 281 runs to win the Edgbaston Test and take a 1-0 lead over England in the five-match Ashes series.

England have a slight advantage going into the final day after Stuart Broad struck twice to dismiss the dangerous Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne as Australia ended Day 4 for 107 for 3 on the scoreboard, with opener Usman Khawaja and night watchman Scott Boland in the middle.

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