Root plotting Ashes success Down Under after series draw

Sports | 17 Sep 2019

Captain Joe Root put the focus firmly on winning the Ashes in Australia after England leveled their home series, saying he was desperate to take the team forward.

England won at The Oval by 135 runs in the fifth and final Ashes Test to tie the series at 2-2, ending their historic World Cup-winning season on a high. It meant the series finished in a draw for the first time since 1972, although holders Australia retain the urn.

Root described the summer as a huge success for English cricket after their World Cup triumph in July.

He said the foundations were in place for England to build on, praising Rory Burns for his contributions at the top of the order and paceman Jofra Archer, who only made his Test debut last month.

"Throughout the whole series we've shown a lot of character," said Root, who described 2-2 as a fair result.

"At times we've been out-skilled ... but we've always fought very hard and that's a very pleasing thing," he said.

The Ashes will next take place in Australia in 2021-22.

Root said the performance in the fifth Test was a blueprint of how he wanted his team to play but there was still room for improvement.

"It looks like we just started to really get to grips with Test cricket after a very long period of one-day cricket."

Australia captain Tim Paine said it was mission accomplished even though his team lost the fifth Test.

"We're taking the urn home so that's certainly what we came to do," he said. "We're thrilled by that, a little disappointed by this game obviously.

"We can be really proud of the way we've come over here, which is a challenging place for Australians to come and play and win."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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