Root says Ashes defeat not ‘fair reflection’ of England’s prowess


England’s Ashes defeat is not “a fair reflection” of how they have played or “what we’re capable” of achieving, according to Joe Root.

Encouraged by England’s ability to compete for periods in each game but frustrated by their inability to sustain it, England’s captain urged his side to learn from Australia’s ability to seize the key moments and register better results in the final two matches of the series.

“One of the most frustrating things is that we haven’t been blown away or completely outplayed,” Root said, despite victory margins of 10 wickets in Brisbane, 120 runs in Adelaide and an innings and 41 runs in Perth. “We have put up some really good performances in all three matches, but not for long enough.

“There have been periods when we have matched and outplayed Australia. But credit to them, because they grasped the key moments in each game. We have got to learn from that. Our biggest challenge in the two remaining games is get in a position of strength, drive it home and make sure we walk away with some results from this tour.

“I don’t think these three games is a fair reflection of how we’ve played and what we’re capable of. So, I think we need to do ourselves and the supporters back home justice in the final two games of the series.”

While Root, the England captain, admitted his side had been “outplayed in all three games” he urged the team management not to panic and insisted that the senior players who had underperformed in Australia – Alastair Cook in particular – should still be in the side in a year’s time.

“I’d like to think they are still in the side in a year,” Root said. “They have a huge amount of experience and they do offer a lot to this group. Their performances over a long period of time speak for themselves. I see no reason why throughout the rest of this series they can’t do well again.

The senior guys have proved they can produce for England time and again. It is very important that me and Trevor Bayliss don’t panic or make hasty decisions despite three games which haven’t gone in our favour. We have to be very realistic about where we are as a side and what is going to be most important is making sure we field a team that is going to give us the best chance to win.

“Cook has done it so many times before. He is a very stubborn guy who likes proving people wrong. As he said before this game, the amount of extra work he is putting in behind the scenes tell me he is desperate to keep going.”

On the state of the WACA pitch, which required the use of leaf-blowers to remove some notable damp patches, Root was cautious in his criticism, particularly after Jonny Bairstow’s early dismissal to a delivery that kept noticeably low.

“When we got here this morning it definitely wasn’t fit to play,” he said. “But it dried up this morning, the sun got to it, the wind got it, they obviously worked very hard to get it right, and by the end there it was probably fit to play.”