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- English cricketer (born 1990)
Joe Root was scathing of the repeat mistakes made by his England team in their Ashes Second Test defeat in Adelaide, and called on them to show the spirit of Jos Buttler’s futile rearguard from the start of Tests, rather than relying on miracle escapes.
Buttler, known for his white-ball pyrotechnics, dug in for 26 from 207 balls, his second-longest Test innings, before becoming the ninth man out by treading on his stumps in the final session.
Australia sealed a 275-run victory shortly after. That leaves England 2-0 down with three to play, a position only one Ashes team – Don Bradman’s 1936 Australians – have ever won from. Root said England “have to believe” they can win, but doing so would require “learning fast”.
Root had an eventful Test match, and was dismissed by the last ball of the fourth day having spent time in hospital and taken two heavy blows to the groin region. Speaking after the game, Root said he was “proud of the way the guys fought” on the final day, but was scathing about the performance generally.
"I was very proud of the way the guys fought today, the attitude, the desire,” he said. "That’s how we need to go about a whole Test match. We can’t leave it until the last day and expect to pull of an enormous feat, which is what it would have been today.
“Jos’s innings was outstanding, ably supported by others, [Chris] Woakes in particular. Ultimately that is the attitude and mentality we have to harness for five days.
“We can’t make the same mistakes that we have made so far. We have to have that same attitude that we had today. If we do that I’m convinced we have what it takes to win Test matches over here. But we can’t keep missing opportunities. We need to find ways of building partnerships and making big contributions. A lot of today has given me confidence going forward.
“We’ve got three massive games now, with the Ashes on the line. If that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is.”
Root was critical of his bowlers for not being “brave enough” in pitching the new ball up to invite drives, as Australia’s bowlers did. Instead James Anderson and Stuart Broad pulled their lengths back, keeping the run-rate down. Root said the fourth day, when England picked up three early wickets, was “the benchmark”.
“The disappointing thing this week is that we made the same mistakes as last week and we can’t afford to do that,” he said. “That is the most frustrating thing about this Test.
“The most important thing for me is the number of no-balls we keep bowling and the amount of chances that we keep missing.”
Root said England would not be rushing into selection decisions, but they could make as many as four changes for the MCG on Boxing Day. Zak Crawley could replace either opener, Jonny Bairstow is likely to come in for Ollie Pope, Mark Wood is certain for a recall, and Jack Leach could be brought back to provide a spin option.
Buttler’s performance was timely at the end of a tough Test match that saw him make a duck and drop three catches.
"It was heart-breaking to see him get out like that because it was a wonderful performance from him,” said Root. “It’s a great example to the rest of the guys. That's the determination, the desire that you need to go and win out here.”