Ashes 2019: Joe Root praises England’s character on final day despite falling to defeat
England captain Joe Root praised his team’s personality and fight despite falling to a conquer as Australia retained the Ashes using a Evaluation to playwith.
The hosts began the day 18-2 needing to bat out 98 overs to pull off an unlikely draw in a sold-out Old Trafford and Joe Denly (53) and Jason Roy (31) fought for 80 minutes before the latter was shot by Pat Cummins.
Although Ben Stokes (1) was unable to replicate his Headingley heroics, Jos Buttler made a fighting 34 off 111 balls, Jack Leach laboured for 12 away 54 and last guy out Craig Overton spent just under three hours at the crease for his 21 off 105 balls.
“I thought we showed great character, battle and perception in what we wanted to achieve now,” Root said. “I couldn’t be pleased with the effort that the guys put in today.
“It turned out to be a resilient performance but unfortunately it was not enough. Like last week in Headingley we always believed and we try our hardest.
“You always can settle back and look at several areas of the sport where you could have done things differently but from the point of view I am very proud.
“When you are in the position we were at the start of the afternoon, the way the men fought as hard as they did, you learn a lot about your own team, it reveals the personality and everyone stood up and played with bravely.”
Root believes there’s a lot for England to play for with a draw at the series possible and Evaluation Championship points at stake Regardless of Australia having already won the Ashes.
The England captain added the seam bowlers throughout the series’ dominance was revealing Test cricket at its peak.
“It is tough to consider losing the Ashes at this stage but we will need to make sure we pick ourselves up and flip up in The Oval,” he explained.
“It was yet another great Test match and it’s quite disappointing and we need to make sure we pick ourselves up and develop for what is still quite a huge game for us in The Oval.
“We have seen some excellent Test cricket over the span of this series so far and I hope the same to be the case in The Oval, it’s still a big game for us. We would like to be sure that we level the series and a Test championship is to play as well.
“I think every seamer has put all batters under stress throughout the show, pub Steve Smith. It’s been hard work but that’s Test cricket at its very finest.
“You expect it to be challenging and you expect guys to challenge your defence and make life difficult for you. It has been one of those summers where batting has been hard and you have had to work on your runs.”
See day one of the fifth and final Ashes Test between Australia and England from The Oval live from 10am on Thursday on Sky Sports The Ashes, September 12.