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Joe Root urges England to start Ashes tour in ruthless fashion

• Captain wants team to ‘get into the habit of winning early in the tour’
• Mark Stoneman eager to grab opportunity of ‘a dream come true’

As Joe Root puts the troubles of England’s buildup to the Ashes behind him and prepares for his first match as captain – at any level – overseas, he has called on his team to create a winning habit and be ruthless on their tour of Australia, starting with the two-day game against a Western Australia XI at the Waca.

Root is cutting a relaxed figure on tour, back sharing with his old house-mate Gary Ballance – “It’s nice to have someone cleaning the room,” he said, “that was my job when we lived together” – but is bullish about his aims as England prepare for the Gabba. He is looking for “continuity in the top order” and for those coming into the squad to “put your name forward for that first Test” but cannot guarantee every player will play one of the three warmups.

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