Joe Root has refused to say whether he will continue to lead England once their horror tour of Australia is over, after they surrendered the Ashes in the equivalent of 10 days’ play.

England were dismissed for 68 on the third morning at the MCG, to lose the third Test by an innings and 14 runs, and fall 3-0 behind with two games to play. It was their lowest total in Australia for over 117 years.

Asked whether he intended to carry on in a job that has now brought him 24 Test defeats – the most by an England captain – Root replied: ‘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.

Joe Root has refused to say whether he will continue to lead England once their horror tour of Australia is over

Joe Root has refused to say whether he will continue to lead England once their horror tour of Australia is over

Joe Root has refused to say whether he will continue to lead England once their horror tour of Australia is over

England were dismissed for 68 as they fell 3-0 behind in the series with two games remaining

England were dismissed for 68 as they fell 3-0 behind in the series with two games remaining

England were dismissed for 68 as they fell 3-0 behind in the series with two games remaining

‘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.

‘We’ve got to keep looking to do everything we can to get the players in the best possible place to win Test matches.’

But Root, who described himself as ‘absolutely gutted and bitterly disappointed’, also called for a ‘reset’ in English cricket’s approach to the red-ball game at the end of a year in which they have lost a national-record nine Test matches.

‘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.’

Root has not been the problem as only two players in history have scored more runs in a calendar year

Root has not been the problem as only two players in history have scored more runs in a calendar year

Root has not been the problem as only two players in history have scored more runs in a calendar year

Root himself has not been the problem: only Mohammad Yousuf and Viv Richards have scored more than his 1,708 Test runs in a calendar year.

But no one else has totalled more than 530 for England, and Root called for his team to finish the tour on a better note, starting with next week’s fourth Test at Sydney.

‘You’ve got to front up, make sure you stay very strong, and looking to improve all areas of our game, individually and collectively. 

‘You have to have a really strong inner belief and we need to put some pride back into the badge, to give people back home something to celebrate from this tour.

‘It’s bitterly disappointing to be 3-0 down, but we have to come away from this tour with a couple of wins.’

Skipper Root also called for a 'reset' in English cricket's approach to the red-ball game

Skipper Root also called for a 'reset' in English cricket's approach to the red-ball game

Skipper Root also called for a ‘reset’ in English cricket’s approach to the red-ball game

Chris Silverwood, meanwhile, insisted he remained the right man to coach England despite overseeing a litany of batting catastrophes this calendar year.

‘I’m not going to worry about my job,’ he said. ‘I’m just going to do my best with what I believe can work.

‘I feel like I am capable of leading this team to winning things, and that’s what I’m going to stay focused on.’ Silverwood was also asked whether he wanted Root to stay on as captain.

‘I love working with Joe,’ he said. ‘I think he is a fine young man and a great human being. The year he has had with the bat shows that he is a class act.

‘But I don’t think it is time to be discussing things like that. We have two Test matches left so we have to put our best foot forward.’

When he was asked if Root wanted to continue in the post, Silverwood replied: ‘Again, now is not the time.’

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