Joe Root says England must salvage some pride after Ashes humiliation

Australia wrap up series victory in just 81 minutes of day three in Melbourne

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England captain Joe Root vowed his side must "front up" and salvage some pride after surrendering the Ashes in toothless fashion, admitting Australia have outplayed them throughout.

Resuming on 31-4, England were bowled out for just 68 inside 81 minutes, with debutant Scott Boland taking an incredible 6-7, as Pat Cummins' hosts won the Melbourne third Test by an innings and 14 runs to retain the urn.

It followed a 275-run thrashing in Adelaide and a nine-wicket reverse in Brisbane, with two Tests in Sydney and Hobart left to save face.

"We have to make sure when we get our opportunities to get ahead we take them," said Root, adding that England should have scored 250-plus in their first innings rather than slump to 185 all out.

"If we had we would have been very much in the game and we would have been looking at a very different game.

"But last night was an outstanding spell of bowling from their attack and you just have to find a way to get through it. Sometimes it has to just be an hour's hard grind."

A hostile spell from Australia in the last hour on Monday effectively won them the match, reducing England to 31 for four, still 51 runs behind.

Their final five wickets fell in the space of 29 balls as England offered the weakest of resistance in front of a jubilant home crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"We knew going into today we were more than capable of getting ourselves a score and it's really disappointing that we didn't manage to do that," added Root.

"We have to front up, make sure we stay focused, looking to improve all areas of our game individually and collectively, and we have to have a really strong inner belief to be able to come back.

"We need to put some pride back. We're really disappointed to be 3-0 down with two Test matches to go. We have to try and make sure we come away from this tour with a couple of wins."

Despite admitting they had been "completely outplayed" so far, Root did take heart from their Jimmy Anderson-led bowling effort that restricted Australia to 267 in their first innings, which he called their best day of the series so far.

Australia's Scott Boland celebrates taking the wicket of England's Joe Root. Reuters

"They have definitely outplayed us in the three games, we have not been good enough," he said.

"I also think that the way we bowled yesterday was excellent as well. I'm really disappointed for the bowlers because they kept us in the game, we just have to keep looking to get better."

Cummins said warned that the Australians were only just getting started with Boland's 6-7 off four overs on his debut.

It equalled the record for the fastest five-wicket haul, in 19 balls, and came after Jhye Richardson - a late replacement for injured regular Josh Hazlewood - took five wickets in the second Test at Adelaide.

"A great sign of the strength of Australian cricket. We were really confident Scotty would do a great job. Maybe not six for seven!" said Cummins.

"Outside of the actual results, there have been so many other positives - a couple of debutants, a strong squad.

"These three victories really feel like we're setting ourselves up for the next few years and on."

The result means Australia have retained the Ashes after just 12 days of action and will be targeting a 5-0 series win when the fourth Test begins in Sydney on January 4.

Updated: December 28, 2021, 4:15 AM
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