Joe Root described England’s Ashes defeat in Melbourne as “gut-wrenching” as Australia retained the urn at the earliest opportunity with a crushing innings-and-14-run victory.
England were dismissed for 68 on the third day of the third Test to hand Australia an easy win.
It means Australia have retained the Ashes after just 12 days of cricket in the five-match series.
“It is everything you do not want from this stage of the tour,” Root said.
Resuming on 31-4, England lost their final six wickets before the lunch break at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
How good!!! They don’t come much bigger than that. An Ashes triumph to rival the best at the G. Congratulations to @patcummins30, @stevesmith49, Justin Langer and the whole team – and especially @sboland24 – an inspirational performance. A great day. pic.twitter.com/LIfj0Bs8bi
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) December 28, 2021
Debutant Scott Boland finished with figures of 6-7 as England capitulated, with the last five wickets falling in the space of 30 balls.
“It is bitterly disappointing and gut-wrenching. We have been thoroughly outplayed,” Root, who top-scored with 28, told BT Sport.
“We know we have underperformed and have to be mentally resilient and very strong.
“We have to give the people back home something to enjoy and celebrate.”
Player POV, around the ‘G! 🏟
Special shoutout to the 140,671 fans who joined us at the Boxing Day Test as we retained the #Ashes on home soil 👊🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/CzQldMWIv4
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) December 28, 2021
Root, 30, has had the strongest year of his career with the bat. His 1,708 runs in the calendar year are the third most by any man, behind Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf and West Indian Viv Richards.
However, his team has consistently struggled with the bat both at home and abroad, winning just one of their past 12 Tests.
They have also won only four Tests in Australia this century and are winless in Australia since the Sydney Test in 2011.
They bowled well on the second day in Melbourne, but Australia’s evening burst with the ball left them teetering before the batting failed again the next day.
“We got ourselves into a position when we were in the match,” Root told Test Match Special.
“It’s very frustrating – the way we bowled and went about that was excellent, the best we’ve been all tour.
“We know we have to be better. We can’t hide behind any excuses, there are clear areas we need to work on and we’ve got two opportunities with the last two Test matches.”
Root has led England in 59 Tests since replacing Sir Alastair Cook in February 2017, winning 27, losing 24 and drawing eight.
Speaking immediately after the defeat, Root said it was too soon to “look at things too far in the future” with regards to his captaincy.
“My energy has to be all about trying to win the next game. I can’t be selfish and start thinking about myself,” he added.
“More than anything, we’ve got to make sure we end up coming away from this tour with something.”
England head coach Chris Silverwood said that England “have to find a way to compete”.
“It is something we’ll be reflecting on. We want to take something away from this series,” he told BT Sport.
“We had disruption yesterday morning but the way the bowlers rallied was a credit to them and the way we caught in that innings was good too.
“There is positives coming out of that.”