Ashes 2021-22: Root does not believe Australia are 'that much better' than England

By Sports Desk December 20, 2021

Joe Root does not believe Australia are "that much better" than England despite their dominant start to the Ashes.

England once again paid the price for a poor first-innings batting performance at Adelaide Oval, eventually succumbing to a 275-run defeat following prolonged resistance from Jos Buttler.

Buttler thwarted stand-in captain Steve Smith's side for over four hours as he made 26 off 207 balls before being trudging off after stepping on his stumps when facing Jhye Richardson (5-42), who claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul.

Chris Woakes also made a battling 44, but England are 2-0 down and winless in 12 Test matches in Australia – their joint-longest run without a victory Down Under.

Captain Root says they have not done themselves justice in two emphatic defeats.

Root told reporters: "With the bat, we have got the ability. I don't think that Australia are that much better in these conditions as the scoreline suggests.

"I'm convinced we've got what we need to win Test matches over here but we're not going to if we keep missing chances and don't give ourselves an opportunity to get into the Test match with the bat.

"We've got to find ways of building those partnerships, getting in, making big contributions.

"That's something we'll have to do very well at Melbourne. I was absolutely gutted to get out last night. I should have been able to turn up today, put the pads on and lead by example, so I'm bitterly disappointed in myself."

Australia have now won all of their nine day-night Test matches, the only side to boast a 100 per cent winning record in such fixtures, while England are winless in their last four pink-ball outings since beating West Indies in 2017.

While Root bemoaned the lengths his bowlers settled on in Adelaide, the skipper reserved special praise for Buttler as he appreciated the tough task that lies ahead.

"Everyone is absolutely devastated for him, having had that mindset and that strength of character in what has been quite a difficult week for him," Root said of Buttler.

"I'm very proud of the way the guys fought today. The attitude and the desire, that's how we need to go about a whole match.

"But we can't just leave it to the last day to try and pull off an enormous feat like we had to do today.

"We've got three massive games now, with the Ashes on the line. If that's not motivation enough, I don’t know what is."

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