Joe Root press conference crash, Australia beats England
Joe Root didn’t come out on the MCG Tuesday morning – he sprinted.
The England captain charged in front of teammate Ben Stokes and practiced his forward defense right next to the Aussie players as they approached central square.
Stokes was calmer, taking his time as he waltzed around the middle.
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Both were ready for the challenge that awaited them. England had lost 4/15 the night before, and the visitors needed another 51 points to get the Australians beaten again.
Root and Stokes had been England’s most consistent performers with the bat over the past five years, and if anyone could keep the Ashes streak alive, it was them.
Mitchell Starc delivered the first ball of the third day and Root hit it near the halfway point. The English skipper had programmed the stroke incorrectly, so he practiced it several times between deliveries.
Later in the race, Starc overtook again and Root was right on the occasion, crossing a straight past the halfway point for the first limit of the morning.
He would have thought, “The ashes are not over yet. “
Shortly thereafter, Stokes whipped up a length delivery from Starc at the halfway point, reducing the margin to 36 races. Maybe these two could perform a miracle – another Headingley, maybe?
But as English cricket fans know all too well, it’s hope that kills you.
Stokes was beaten fifth on the day as Starc produced a contender for the series delivery. The Kookaburra viciously stitched to a good length, beating the left-hander’s inside edge and crashing into the stumps.
The red-haired all-rounder looked flabbergasted – there wasn’t much he could have done about it; it was a verified fishery.
Australian debutant Scott Boland was introduced in the attack 15 minutes later and struck in his first over, trapping Jonny Bairstow on the back cushion. One review could not save England No.6.
But Boland dealt the fatal blow in his next over.
The Victorian quickly tempted Root on the front foot and grabbed the outside edge, David Warner’s hook low on the turf on the first slip.
The Australians celebrated ecstatically, knowing the urn was within reach. Root trudged back to the hangars – his resistance Tuesday morning had lasted less than an hour.
Root finished 2021 with the all-time record for most test runs by an English cricketer in a calendar year, having scored 1,708 runs in 15 matches.
But it was a one-man show – Root made up 26.2% of England’s test races in 2021, setting a new record for the highest percentage of team races in a year civil.
England’s last five wickets fell by just eight points. Root’s men were eliminated for 68, the team’s lowest total on Australian soil since 1904.
The Australians had only needed 12 days to keep the urn – England had spent more time secluding itself in hotel quarantine than it had taken them to lose the ashes.
Root spoke candidly during the post-match presentation: “Credit to Australia. They blew us away last night and dominated us throughout the test match and the series.
His teammates did not hang around to support their skipper, returning to the locker room before the end of his speech.
Root then faced the media for a post-match press conference, conducted via Zoom due to Level 4 biosecurity protocols.
The 30-year-old was asked how he felt after the loss in the innings: “I’m absolutely drained.
“You come in today and go out with Ben Stokes and you feel like anything is possible.
“We are bitterly disappointed to find ourselves in this position.
“We need to make the badge proud and give the people back home something to celebrate. “
The Boxing Day contest marked England’s ninth defeat in 2021, tying the all-time record for most test losses in a calendar year.
Root acknowledged that English cricket potentially needs to overhaul and reset their red ball system to alter the flow of the tide.
“The top 18 players in the County game are definitely on this tour, and there are some very talented players on this team,” he said.
“Maybe you think back to 2015 and the reset that happened in white ball cricket, this is something that has to happen in our red ball game as well. I think it’s a long conversation that I should probably have with you some other time.
Root was about to discuss the ugly Test-side strike when the lights abruptly went out in the room, disrupting his train of thought.
“The lights went out on Joe Root’s press conference, which is about as good as I think you’ll find poetic symmetry,” tweeted cricket presenter Isabelle Westbury.
Root has said he has no plans to give up the captain’s post, determined to get England a few wins before returning home next month.
Eight years after his first Ashes tour, the Yorkshireman is still looking for his first test victory on Australian soil. No cricketer in history has played more test matches in Australia without a win.
“My energy has to be devoted to trying to win the next game,” he said. “I can’t be selfish and start thinking about myself.
“But I think most of all we have to keep looking to do everything we can to put the players in the best possible place to win test matches.
“And that’s a big part of captaincy, you have to rally the players – you have to try to instill that belief in each of your squad and your squad.
“And more than ever now.”
The fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England will start at SCG on Wednesday January 5th.