Joe Root defends England captaincy after Ashes defeat

England’s under-fire captain Joe Root has backed himself to remain in charge - despite being unable to wrestle the Ashes back from Australia.

Hopes of winning the Ashes on home turf and completing a dream summer were ended on Sunday when England were beaten by 185 runs at Old Trafford.

That result means Australia lead the five-match series 2-1 heading into the final match at the Oval on Thursday.

But Root, who has lost both the Ashes series for which he has been captain, has refused to back down.

"I have been given a fantastic opportunity to captain the Test side and will continue to work very hard at doing my best at that," he said.

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Root has found himself under-pressure following a series defeat. (Credit: Getty Images)

"That is in my control I have to make sure I do everything I can to get this team in the best shape to win as many games as possible.

"Whenever you lose a series, it hurts.

"I have to take that on the chin. You have to look at areas you want to get better at, both in yourself and as a team."

England will have a chance to salvage a draw at the Oval and, in the process, prevent Tim Paine’s Australia being the first side to win the Ashes on these shores since 2001.

In addition, this series is the first to be part of the World Test Championship - a competition aimed to add context to bilateral Test series.

Root, though, might have a headache of the positive variety for the final Test - naming an unchanged squad after the much-maligned Jason Roy and Joe Denly produced noteworthy stands in their second innings in Manchester.

"We have got to look forward to the next Test match and get something out of this series," he added.

"I know the Ashes are not coming home, but in terms of the Test Championship, those points could be crucial.

"You never want to lose an Ashes series and every game against Australia matters. Turning up at the Oval and putting in a strong performance to win the game is crucial for this group."

The 2019 Ashes could be the fourth Test series England have lost under Root’s leadership, compared with the five victories.

But being in the leadership role, despite an initial surge, saw his batting average drop in subsequent years.

In 2019, he averages just 28.56, including a series in the West Indies and a home Test against Ireland.

And former England assistant coach Paul Farbrace believes Root is the right man to carry the Test side forward.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “That’s always the question that comes up after every series. Don’t forget this is the first time England have lost a home series since 2014.

Australia will retain the Ashes regardless of the result of the final Test (Credit: Getty Images)

“One thing England haven’t had for the last few years is a solid top order, and we haven’t got too many players in county cricket who are banging the door the down to say ‘I am England’s next top Test opener’.

“Rory Burns has shown through this series he’s got the skill and the ability and the mental capacity to open the batting for England. Fantastic.

“We need other people at the top of the order to score runs. It isn’t just Joe Root. Joe Root is under enormous pressure.

He is England’s best player, he puts himself under extraordinary pressure and he knows the results this summer haven’t been good enough.

“But up until this summer his record as captain has been very good. And yes his average has dropped whilst he has been captain – that has happened to every captain that has ever played the game probably.”

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