Root breaks silence on England captaincy after Ashes humiliation in Australia

Joe Root insisted he wasn't looking beyond the last two tests of this Ashes series after England suffered a harrowing defeat in Melbourne.

The tourists were beaten by an innings and 14 runs on just the third day at the MCG, meaning a 3-0 series lead for Australia and the urn staying down under until at least 2023.

Resuming on day three at 31-4, and still trailing their hosts by 51 runs, England failed to even make their opponents bat again as they collapsed to 68 all out.

After Mitchell Starc clean bowled Ben Stokes early on, it was debutant Scott Boland who blew Root and co away, adding four wickets to the two he took the previous evening to finish on remarkable figures of 6-7 in four overs.

It was Cameron Green who issued the last rites, skittling out James Anderson, and England now face the prospect of a humiliating whitewash with Root's future as captain, as well as the careers of several players at Test level, in serious doubt.

Speaking to reporters post-match, Root, 30, refused to be drawn on his future post-Sydney and Tasmania.

"The series isn't over yet. We've got two very big games and, more than anything, it'd be wrong to look past that," he said.

"I'm in the middle of a very important series. My energy has to be all about trying to win the next game. I can't be selfish and start thinking about myself."

With the public inquest into the latest debacle down under already in full flow, Root also hinted that the manner in which the ECB had prioritised white ball cricket in 2015, ultimately leading to a 50-over World Cup win four years later, had damaged the national side in the longer format.

"It's a big part of where the game is at in our country right now that the only place you can really learn is in the hardest environment for what is quite a young batting group," he said.

"They're having to learn out here in the harshest environments. You look back at 2015 and the reset that happened in white-ball cricket, and maybe that's something that needs to be happening in our red-ball game as well."

The fourth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground starts on January 5, with the series finale in Hobart set for January 14.

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