Ashes 2021-22: Root insists 'this series isn't over yet'

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Joe Root has refused to be drawn into the discussion around the state of English cricket despite Australia retaining the Ashes in record time and insists the series is not over.

England were humbled by an innings and 14 runs at the MCG on Tuesday as Australia claimed a series-clinching victory for an unassailable 3-0 Ashes lead.

Australia will now chase a 5-0 whitewash over England who were ripped apart inside an hour on the third day, bowled out for a meagre 68 which marked the nation's ninth-lowest Ashes score.

Despite the apparent gulf between the two sides and the disastrous nature of the MCG defeat, Root remained upbeat about achieving something out of the series ahead of Tests in Sydney and Hobart.

The situation has led to discussion around England's Test team and whether the County system is preparing players appropriately to compete at the elite level but Root would not be drawn on that.

"The series isn’t over yet," Root said at the post-game news conference. "We've got two very big games. It'd be wrong to look past that.

"As a player you talk about the next hour or the next session or the every next ball and managing that to be the best of your abilities, that applies to me as captain of this team.

"We have to make sure we come away from this tour with some better performances and a win or two."

Root added: "We need to put some pride back in to the badge. We need to give people back home something to celebrate and look fondly back on from this tour.

"It's bitterly disappointing to be 3-0 down but with two matches to go we have to make sure we come away with a couple of wins."

Root would not be drawn on his future as captain nor questions about what needs to change in the English game to make the Test side more competitive but he did hint at change.

"You look back at 2015 and the reset that happened in white-ball cricket, maybe that's something that needs to be had in our red-ball game as well," Root said.

Root refused to use England's internal COVID-19 issues as an excuse for their ordinary third day display as they lost their remaining six wickets for 37 runs in 15.4 overs after resuming at 31-4.

The England skipper added that he felt his side had fought back on the second day with the ball, bowling Australia out for 267 to trail by 82 runs, but were unable to sustain their fight once again.

"I actually thought the way we went about our cricket on the field was excellent," Root told Fox Sports. "We put them under pressure and got ourselves in a position where we were very much in this Test match.

"We need to be more like that more frequently throughout the last two games."

He continued: "We've just got to do things for longer. There's been small pockets but nowhere near long enough to get into a Test match.

"We know the areas we need to improve on. We need to stay strong and make sure we use the next two Test matches as a real opportunity to take something away from this tour."

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