Joe Root says England want to beat Australia’s strongest side in World Cup and Ashes

Joe Root says England will relish the chance to tackle a full-strength Australia this summer.

The two teams will face each other on Saturday in a 50-over warm-up game – which you can watch on Sky Sports Cricket – ahead of Australia’s defence of the World Cup and the Ashes urn they won so convincingly in 2017-18.

It is likely to be the first time that Steve Smith and David Warner play against England since returning from their suspensions for ball-tampering and Root told Sky Sports News he cannot wait.

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“It’s always great to play against Australia – it always notches up slightly. With the Ashes around the corner, it’s something you dream about playing as a kid.

“I remember, as a 14-year-old [in 2005], sat on the sofa being ill on the last day of the Oval Test match watching the culmination of that and how powerful that was for me as a cricketer.

“We’ve got an opportunity to do something similar. We’ve got two of the best players back playing for Australia now; it’s bubbling up very nicely to be a very exciting series and I’m sure that World Cup game won’t disappoint either.

“I’m sure they will get a number of different receptions over the next couple of weeks but it’s good that they are back playing.

“We want to beat Australia’s strongest side and those two are definitely in that. It’s a very exciting period for us and we’ve got such a great opportunity to do something very special.”

Australia go into the Cricket World Cup ranked fifth in the ODI standings but having four of the last five World Cups, including the version in England in 1999.

While Root says England respect their pedigree, his team-mates are determined to continue setting the standard in 50-over cricket under the inspired leadership of skipper Eoin Morgan.

“Australia have always had strong squads, reflected the 28-year-old. “They’ve gone into every World Cup right up there in terms of the rankings and depth within their squad for a number of those World Cups and they’ve won pressure moments.

“So there’s plenty to learn from them as a side. I’d like to think that the way that we’ve improved over this four-year cycle we are probably ahead of where we thought we would be at this stage.

“We’ve worked really hard to deserve the tag of the No 1 ranked team going into the tournament; I think we should enjoy that. We should get a lot of confidence from that and really embrace that and enjoy what we’ve been doing and take it forward into the games.

“The best thing about it is that we are confident but we are realistic that nothing is every given to you in this game and that you are going to have to continue to work very hard; to win a tournament you have to be consistent as well.

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