A mountain has been made out of a molehill – Root dismisses Bairstow allegations after England loss
Joe Root said "a mountain has been made out of a molehill" as the England captain brushed off headbutting allegations involving team-mate Jonny Bairstow following Monday's crushing first-Test defeat to Australia.
England's bid to retain the Ashes suffered a blow in Brisbane, comprehensively beaten by 10 wickets at the Gabba, where David Warner and Cameron Bancroft chased down the 170-run target with ease.
However, all the attention centred on Bairstow after allegations emerged of an incident with Bancroft earlier in the Ashes tour.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) released a statement on Sunday, insisting it would investigate allegations that Bairstow headbutted the Australia batsman at a bar while the tourists were in Perth to face a Western Australia XI.
Root, however, dismissed the claims after watching his side crumble in the first of five Tests in Australia.
"The story over Jonny, a mountain has been made out of a molehill," Root told Channel 9.
"We just have to move on and concentrate on our cricket as a squad. We prepared really well in the warm-up games and played three days of excellent cricket. It's about making sure it's five days in Adelaide."
Root was left to rue missed opportunities in Brisbane, where opposing captain Steve Smith's century wrestled momentum away from England.
England, thanks to James Vince and Mark Stoneman, made an impressive 302 in the first innings but their bowlers were unable to make Australia pay, having had the hosts reeling at 76-4.
Smith went on to record his 21st Test ton as England faded with the bat and ball, much to the frustration of Root.
"For three days we were excellent. Bar Steve's knock, we were right in it and probably ahead in the game," said Root, who scored a half-century in the second innings. "Fair play to him. He played exceptionally well on that surface and took the game away from us."
"From 250-odd for four, you're looking at trying to get 400-plus and put scoreboard pressure on," he added. "And then with the ball, getting them seven down in that position, having an 80-run lead would've been massive. It is frustrating but we have to move on quickly and make sure we don't make the same mistakes again in Adelaide."
On Vince and Stoneman, Root said: "They were excellent. To come into an Ashes series the first time around, away from home and play like that, was exceptional.
"It showed great temperament, great skill and great character. That bodes really well for us for the rest of the series. We have to harness that and move forward as a group. Hopefully turn those into hundreds."
James Anderson (shoulder) and Moeen Ali (finger) were under injury clouds during the Brisbane clash but Root insisted the pair will be "fine" for the day-night Test in Adelaide, starting Saturday.
"One thing that stands out about a team is that we have great character. Over the last year or so, we've come back from difficult situations, from tough days like today and bounced back straight away," the 26-year-old skipper said.
"That's the mentality we are going to need and I have every confidence we will do so."