England stars arrive for Ashes series

The first group of England players, led by captain Joe Root and talismanic allrounder Ben Stokes, have touched down in Queensland more than a month out from the first Ashes Test.

Batsman Rory Burns along with spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess were also on the flight that landed in Brisbane on Saturday, when the party was rushed away from an airport red zone.

They were taken to a Gold Coast resort, where they will spend a fortnight in quarantine before a pair of warm-up matches against an England Lions squad in Brisbane.


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Players and staff have been granted exemptions to train at Metricon Stadium after completing three days of hard quarantine in their hotel rooms.

Twenty20 World Cup stars Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler will join the Ashes squad in Australia after completing their commitments in the UAE.

They will arrive well before the first Test at the Gabba, starting on December 8.

Root, the world’s top-ranked Test batter, is hell-bent on continuing his hot run of form during the Ashes after a record-breaking year that has included 1455 runs and six centuries.

The 30-year-old has never raised the bat for a triple-figure score in Australia and is aiming to lead England to their first Ashes series triumph on foreign soil since 2011.

“It’s the one series where you’re desperate to go and stamp your mark on it and play with authority … and come away having won an Ashes series in Australia,” Root said this week.

“That’s the dream.

“The most important thing is weight of runs.

“To be successful there, generally sides have to make big scores and you have to manage that well.

“That comes down to the responsibility of all the batters.

“You have to separate the mentality of what might be a good score in English conditions and understand the hard work and different challenges (posed by) Australian wickets and that environment.”

Stokes’ highly-anticipated return to international cricket is a major boost to England’s chances of winning back the urn, after he took time away from the game to focus on his mental health and recover from a finger injury.

The powerful hitter was initially unavailable when England’s touring squad was announced, but declared himself ready last month.

“I just took it day by day, step by step,” Stokes told Sky Sports this week.

“I had fantastic support around me to help me through that and I’m just excited to get out there.”

© AAP 2021