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England still ‘massively’ in Ashes battle: Root

December 07, 2017
ENGLAND captain Joe Root addresses a news conference on Wednesday.—AP
ENGLAND captain Joe Root addresses a news conference on Wednesday.—AP

ADELAIDE: Captain Joe Root says England are “still massively” in the Ashes series after a second heavy Test defeat to Australia here on Wednesday left his side facing a last stand in the third Test.

The Australians sealed a 120-run victory in the second Adelaide Test after a crushing 10-wicket triumph in the Brisbane opener, putting England’s hopes of retaining the Ashes on the line in Perth next week.

Compounding England’s task is the fact that the tourists have not beaten Australia at Perth’s WACA Ground since 1978.

But Root put on a bold face after the defeat on Wednesday, saying there was belief in the England camp that they can turn things around in the five-Test series and not head in the same direction as the 5-0 whitewash on the last tour to Australia in 2013-14.

“The way we batted in that second innings proved to everyone we are still massively in this series, simple as that,” Root told reporters.

“We’ve shown throughout the two Tests in periods we can out-perform Australia, but just not over five days.

“If we can perform to our ability for longer periods of time we’ll win games. The belief in dressing room is definitely there.”

Root said he “strongly disagreed” with the notion that his team are heading for the same fate as Alastair Cook’s tourists four years ago.

“I don’t think we’re in the same situation [as last tour], we’re much better than that. We’re in a much better place,” the England skipper insisted.

Root said he was disappointed in himself for not leading the way on the final day after getting dismissed on his overnight score of 67 in the day’s third over by Josh Hazlewood.

“In big series senior players have to step up and lead from the front and I tried to do that last night, but unfortunately this morning I couldn’t carry that on,” he lamented. “That’s really disappointing as someone who wants to lead from the front and show the guys to lead the way. That hurts me a lot personally.”

Root said there was no point complaining about a series of “strange” decision reviews in his side’s Adelaide loss. “There were a number of decisions overturned, it was strange,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2017