Joe Root said his England jersey learn quickly from their

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erhaps it is easier now for Ian Poulter to speak freely about what, for a spell, was the very real possibility that he might have missed the Open Championship’s return to Royal Birkdale. Or maybe his candid admission merely sums up his nature.“How would it feel to watch this one on TV? Pretty shit,” the 41-year-old says. “Whatever happens this week, wherever I finish, it would have been horrible to sit there and watch on TV. I would have been miserable because I’d have been looking back at what happened nine years ago, thinking I wanted another go at it.”Tommy Fleetwood welcomes pressure of being the local hero at the Open In displaying an admirable lack of ego and also the work ethic that has epitomised his career, Poulter secured his Open position via final qualifying at Woburn. “I absolutely needed to be there because I hadn’t played the golf to be here on merit,” he says. “I had no problems at all stepping down a level, to muck in and get my hands dirty. Nobody is going to give you anything, are they? Nobody is going Rasmus Andersson Authentic Jersey to hand you an invite for the Open.”Sitting in a rental home a short walk from Birkdale’s 1st tee, Poulter is in his element. His family are bustling around him as the golfer relives events here in 2008. Poulter’s second-place finish – Padraig Harrington took the Claret Jug by four, with a score of plus three that typified the attritional nature of the Open that year – represents his highest major finish.Changes for The Oval will be debated by Bayliss, Root and the selectors over the coming days. Toby Roland-Jones and Jake Ball will surely push for Mark Wood’s spot in the attack, while England were waiting to learn whether the No3 Gary Ballance has broken his left index finger after a lifter from Morné Morkel that left him heading for a scan after play.When it was put to Root that England were not learning from the mistakes of the past 18 months, he replied: “That might have happened previously but we are in a position now where we have to make sure we look forward and keep looking to get better. The ways we’ve gone about it previously haven’t worked, so we have to look for something different.”On the struggle to bat time Root said: “A lot of sides do in world cricket, with the amount of white-ball cricket we play and the crossover. But that’s part and parcel of Test cricket, we need to be better at that. There’s no shying away from it. We need to make sure we learn quickly so, if we are in a similar situation at The Oval, for example, we play it slightly smarter.”Root has certainly learned about the pressures that follow a defeat, with two prominent former England captains criticising his side’s approach.Nasser Hussain described their attacking style as Authentic Roberto Luongo Youth Jersey a “rubbish brand of cricket” while Michael Vaughan, Root’s longtime mentor, said after the first innings that “maybe it’s a lack of respect about what the game is”.When the latter’s analysis was shared with Root, he replied: “I think that’s very unfair – I can’t believe he’s actually said that, to be honest. We pride ourselves on winning series like this. Unfortunately, we’ve played poorly this week but the most important thing now is to respond well and make sure we put it right.”Root stressed the need for England’s batsmen to adapt to situations, accepting that they need to build the ability to absorb pressure into their games. On his own shortcomings, the 26-year-old conceded his use of the review system was poor following three squandered in the field and a failure to challenge a caught‑behind off Hashim Amla in South Africa’s second innings.“It’s definitely an area I want to get better at. I’ve always been terrible. You’re going to get it wrong on a few occasions but the most important thing is you use it for the howler and not when trying to burgle a wicket.”Asked by Ryan what elements of the article he objected to, Brailsford was then reported to have said: “I’m not getting into that. It was opinion, you write shit. We make ourselves available, we answer all the questions and you write this shit.” The exchange ended with Brailsford telling Ryan he could “stick it up your arse”. The Guardian contacted Team Sky for comment but was told that they had nothing to add to the story.As on the first rest day in the Tour, Froome did not give a formal press conference for written media – something which is extremely rare for a wearer of the yellow jersey – instead speaking to broadcasters with some print journalists permitted to listen in to the interviews.Froome told broadcasters that he considered the Colombian Rigoberto Urán to be a possible dark horse when it comes to the fight for overall victory in the Tour, which will move to the Alps for two stages on Wednesday and Thursday that include the Croix de Fer, Galibier and Izoard cols. The Colombian currently lies fourth overall, 29sec behind the Sky leader.The gaps in the Tour are small but nothing has yet been seen on the scale of the four monstrous climbs that await on Wednesday and Thursday, all over 2,000m in altitude and, in the case of the Croix de Fer and Galibier, of a length we haven’t seen in the race so far. Chris Froome and his team have only to watch the rest, while grabbing what time they can close to the finish, because on paper the Briton is the strongest time triallist so can bank on gaining time on Saturday in Marseille. Thus, it falls to Romain Bardet, Fabio Aru, and Rigoberto Urán – the strongest climbers in the race so far – to attack; Dan Martin and Simon Yates have not looked quite at the level of the top four to date when the hammer goes down. Froome has the strongest team in the race, and he should have Mikel Landa to cover moves, so he is in the box seat. However …Froome has had a remarkable number of minor “episodes” so far – minor exits from the road on Sunday and at Peyragudes, mechanicals at Chambéry and on Sunday, and his collapse at Peyragudes. Something unexpected could give his rivals an opening – as long as they are willing and able to take the initiative. The other unknown concerns Landa, lying sixth overall and looking disturbingly strong. If at some point on Wednesday or Thursday he gets into a potentially race-winning position – most likely by marking a move by a rider outside Froome’s immediate orbit as he did with Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador on Bastille Day – that is when the race could get very interesting. The question then is whether Sky rein him in or let him rip. And how Froome might react.


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