Strauss: We're in a decent place

21 September 2017 08:45:19 EST

England's director of cricket Andrew Strauss admits that there are still a couple of places in the team for The Ashes series up for grabs.

The first of England's five Tests against Australia is set to start on 23rd November in Brisbane.

England won their two series against South Africa and the West Indies this summer but, aside from Joe Root and Alastair Cook, doubts remain about the top order.

Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan all struggled at times and it is unclear whether they will be involved Down Under.

"You want to go to Australia knowing what your best XI is and I don't think we are quite there just yet," said Strauss. "Our Test team isn't 100 per cent settled at the moment but by and large I can't grumble, we're in a decent place."

Meanwhile, Strauss believes Australia will target England captain Root this winter, adding: "They know he is England's best player so if they keep him quiet then that's going to undermine him as captain as well."

Root, who has scored 5,323 Test runs at an average of 53.76, replaced Cook as England's Test captain in February, and Strauss added of the Yorkshire star: "I think he has done brilliantly well. He's our best batsman and it hasn't affected his batting.

"I think he's shown he is prepared to be his own man and do things his own way. He's looked comfortable in his own skin."

England are 3/1 to win The Ashes Series outright while the Baggy Greens can be backed at 4/9 to triumph.

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