“We’ve shown throughout the two games [that] in periods we can outperform Australia." © AFP

“We’ve shown throughout the two games [that] in periods we can outperform Australia.” © AFP

We let ourselves down, said Joe Root, the England captain, after England lost the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The visitors entered the final day 178 runs from victory with six wickets in hand, but lost three wickets inside the first hour.

Root’s was always going to be a vital wicket and once Josh Hazlewood got rid of him, Mitchell Starc ran through the tail, claiming 5 for 88.

Root was quick to identify the problem: “We’ve shown throughout the two games [that] in periods we can outperform Australia, just not over the five days. If we can perform to our ability for longer periods of time, we’ll win games.”

Earlier, Australia dismissed England for 227, taking a 215-run lead, but opted against enforcing the follow-on under lights. Steven Smith wasn’t perturbed by the criticism he faced for it, saying, “I would have thought about it had we lost.”

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