England up for the Ashes fight


Australia spinner Nathan Lyon has taken aim at England captain Joe Root as the mind games between the teams continue ahead of the first Ashes Test starting in Brisbane on Thursday.

The captain added that Warner had joked about batting like West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul, famous for his idiosyncratic stance, in order to play a part. You have little niggles and he's confident that he'll be okay.

Australia captain Steve Smith confirmed the news, but is hopeful Warner will be fit to play.

"I'm sure it'll be fine, these sort of things tend to crop up before a big series", he told reporters at the Gabba.

Smith, who has personal experience of facing current quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in the nets, warned England to expect another white-knuckle ride on a pace-friendly Gabba pitch.

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Root suggested there may be too much emphasis being placed on the Australian bowling group, which is lacking an allrounder as backup like the 2013-14 version had.

The Australians aren't exactly settled, either, with Tim Paine recalled as wicketkeeper for his first test in seven years at the expense of Matthew Wade, Cameron Bancroft set to make his test debut in place of opener Matthew Renshaw and Shaun Marsh getting another recall to bat at No. 6.

Warner, the team's vice-captain, hurt his neck while taking a high catch at training this week, but Smith said his condition improved significantly overnight.

Smith said selectors had been discussing a replacement option to be on standby, but he was confident the player would not be required.

Meanwhile, Warner, who has scored 20 centuries in 66 Test matches, thinks Ben Stokes let England down with his behaviour. "But I don't think we need to change our plans on anything. It could give us a lot of momentum going into the rest of it".