Ashes 2019: Joe Root says he is right man to lead England after Australia defeat

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Old Trafford

Joe Root said he is still the right man to captain England despite failing to regain the Ashes from Australia.

Defeat in the fourth Test at Old Trafford left England 2-1 down with one match to play and meant the holders will take the urn back down under.

Root also presided over England's 4-0 defeat in Australia in 2017-18.

"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," said Root.

"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."

Root, 28, took charge of the Test side at the beginning of 2017 and his win percentage of 50 is better than all but Michael Vaughan in the past 38 years.

However, Root will become the first England skipper since 2001 not to win a home Ashes series.

"Whenever you lose a series, it hurts," said the Yorkshire batsman. "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."

He also immediately turned his focus to the fifth Test at The Oval, which begins on Thursday.

England can still draw 2-2, while a loss would leave them with their first home series defeat since 2014. They are also looking for points in the new World Test Championship.

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

"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."

England needed to bat out the final day at Old Trafford in order to earn a draw.

They resumed on Sunday at 18-2, their target of 383 unrealistic, surviving 98 overs to stay in the series their only real option.

The hosts lost their eighth wicket with 29.1 overs remaining, only for Craig Overton and Jack Leach to raise hopes by batting together for more than an hour.

And Root said his team were taking inspiration from their incredible third-Test win, when Leach helped Ben Stokes add 73 for the final wicket.

"With the character of this group, we always believe," added Root. "That was certainly the feeling in the dressing room.

"The guys fought extremely bravely. They dug in and put a high price on their wicket. That almost makes it a little bit harder to take but at the same time I could not be more proud with how we fought today."

Leach and Overton were dismissed in the space of 11 balls, meaning Australia will leave England with the urn for the first time in 18 years.

It also denied England the chance of a World Cup-Ashes double. Root, though, denied any suggestion that the efforts put into winning the World Cup for the first time distracted the players from the Ashes.

"You turn up to an Ashes series you put everything you can into it," he said.

"You leave everything out on the field. Everyone has done that. At times we have not been at our absolute best. We have played a very good side that has performed well in these conditions."


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