No Sydney guarantees, but Root expects Moeen to bounce back
Joe Root has not guaranteed Moeen Ali a place in the team for the final Ashes Test in Sydney, but did back the all-rounder to deliver for England in the future.
Moeen has endured a miserable tour of Australia, failing to make a single half-century and claiming just three wickets across four Tests, going empty-handed in both Adelaide and Melbourne.
Addressing the media after his team drew the fourth match to avoid a whitewash, Root was asked if the 30-year-old remains an automatic selection for the series finale at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which starts on Thursday.
"Mo's a fine player," the captain said, opting not to directly answer the question.
"He's obviously had a tough tour until now, but he's going to do some great things for England in the future and he has done in the past.
"We've seen a number of guys respond well to a difficult few weeks on this tour already.
"There's no reason why Moeen can't come back from that."
In sharp contrast to Moeen's struggles has been the imperious form of Australia captain Steve Smith, who made his third century of the series with an unbeaten 102 in Melbourne.
Root's predecessor Alastair Cook was a member of the England team that won the Ashes 3-1 in Australia in 2010-11, when a young Smith - then viewed as a promising all-rounder - struggled badly for the hosts and was dropped.
His subsequent transformation into one of the world's best players earned the admiration of the former England captain.
"He's playing very well," Cook said.
"He's played very well over the last four or five years. Probably when we first saw him, we didn't think he'd turn out to be the player he has turned out to be and you've got to give him a lot of credit for the way he's obviously worked at his game.
"And he sticks to it for an incredibly long period of time. He's kind of setting a new benchmark as to what can be possible."