England captain Joe Root vows to win back the urn after 'phenomenal' summer of cricket ends in Ashes draw
Joe Root hailed a ‘phenomenal’ summer of cricket after England squared the Ashes at 2-2 almost exactly two months after Eoin Morgan’s one-day team lifted the World Cup at Lord’s.
England bowled Australia out for 263 at the Oval on the fourth evening of the fifth and final Test to secure the first drawn Ashes series in 47 years. And it left the England captain speaking of launching an assault on the urn Down Under in 2021-22.
‘The performance this week was a lot closer to the template of where we want to be moving forward in Test cricket,’ said Root. ‘Hopefully it’s a massive stepping stone for us to kick on as a team. It looks a hell of a lot better than 3-1.
Joe Root believes England's red-ball team is moving in the right direction after fifth Test win
‘I was desperate to win this series but for English cricket the summer has been a success. It’s been phenomenal cricket. That World Cup was incredible. What a summer of cricket it’s been. We have a great opportunity now to spring the game forward in this country.’
Root’s ambitions will rest heavily on the continued success of Jofra Archer, who bowled a blistering spell to Australian centurion Matthew Wade on Sunday.
‘Jofra’s come in and been fantastic: four Tests, two six-fors,’ said Root. ‘He has a way of having a huge impact on the game. We just have to be careful not to expect too much.’
Root shares the Ashes trophy with Australia's Tim Paine after a first drawn series in 47 years
Asked to assess the herculean contribution of Steve Smith, who was dismissed on Sunday for 23, caught at leg slip by Ben Stokes off Stuart Broad, Root joked: ‘He’s been a pain, really. He’s played extremely well. He’s the No 1 batter in the world for a reason. He’s stood up and done something very special.
‘It was nice to see a plan come together finally, even though it was what we started with at Edgbaston. Finally one went to hand.’
Australian captain Tim Paine admitted: ‘No doubt today puts a dampener on it, but from where this group’s come from, to retain the Ashes is still a big deal. I’m loving the job. I feel there’s some unfinished business but I’m not looking too far down the track. The stick we’ve copped, you can sulk or you can enjoy it.’
Meanwhile, after his last game in charge, England head coach Trevor Bayliss said the only international gig he would now consider was that of his native Australia. He added: ‘But it’s in good hands: Justin Langer is doing a good job.’
The England captain passes parting gift to coach Trevor Bayliss at the KIA Oval