Ashes 2017 third Test: Joe Root insists England remain "massively" in the series after falling 2-0 down

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Root tried to find the positives following another defeat (Source: Getty)

England captain Joe Root insists his team remain "massively" in contention to retain the Ashes, despite lurching 2-0 down in the series after they fell well short of a record run chase in Adelaide.

Root's early dismissal on the final day of the second Test, when England needed 178 runs to win, crushed England's already faint hopes of a famous victory.

Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood was the architect of the tourists' demise, claiming the wickets of nightwatchman Chris Woakes and Root within his first 11 balls of the morning.

England only scored 57 runs before three further wickets from Mitchell Starc and one from Nathan Lyon had them all out for 233, 120 runs short of their target.

Read more: Chris Tremlett - The 2013-14 Ashes was littered with distractions, England don't need them this time around

Aspirations of an Ashes victory Down Under have now morphed into fears of another 5-0 whitewashing, yet Root insists the fight shown by his side to take the second Test into a final day shows that England can avoid the fate that befell them four years ago.

"I thought we showed a lot of character, which is what you want to see in big series," said Root.

"It is now about finding a way to do it over five days. The way that we went about the second innings proved to everyone really we are still massively in this series. It is as simple as that.

"If we can get that right and perform to our ability for longer periods of time we will win games. I don't think we are in a situation that we were last time we were here. We are in a much better place than that."

Australia captain Steve Smith admitted that he had been feeling the nerves as his side looked in danger of letting a commanding first innings lead slip.

The Baggy Green batsman, who fell for just six during a poor second innings, feared that his decision not to enforce a follow-on could come at a greater cost as England mounted a comeback.

Smith also missed the mark with his calls for the Decision Review System and the skipper admitted the mistakes had weighed on him.

"I had to have a sleeping pill last night," said Smith.

"It has been a pretty tough 24 hours if I'm being honest. It's all part of being captain of your country. You have to make difficult decisions and sometimes you're going to make the wrong decision.

"It's all part of the learning experience and hopefully I can learn something from this game."

For an England side that already appear to be second-best across the board, the prospect of an improved Australia is not a comforting one.

They now have just a week's before the third Test – their last chance to save the series – begins at Perth's WACA Ground.

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