That's as flat a wicket as you'll ever see - Root slams MCG pitch as England draw
Joe Root was left frustrated as the combination of Steve Smith and a flat MCG wicket defied England in the fourth Ashes Test, but believes his side produced a performance that proves they can compete in Australia.
England, 3-0 down in the five-match series, dominated for the majority of proceedings in Melbourne but, having been thwarted by the elements on day four, went into day five needing to take eight wickets and then potentially complete a run-chase to claim victory.
Though the atypically patient David Warner, whose 86 came off 227 balls, and Shaun Marsh fell to leave Australia four down with a lead of just 14, any hope England had of triumphing was dashed in laborious fashion.
Smith ground out his third hundred of a dominant series to see Australia to 263-4 before they declared with both sides settling for a draw.
The lack of life in the wicket was an obvious source of irritation for Root, who dismissed Warner, but he took solace in an improved showing that has been a long time coming in a hugely disappointing tour.
"That's as flat a wicket as you'll ever see - another four days and it would be exactly the same, Root told BT Sport.
"We tried pretty much everything. Maybe I could've come on to bowl a little bit earlier and played on the ego a bit earlier.
"Credit to the guys, who worked extremely hard, and I don't think we could've tried anything else.
"We've outplayed them this game. I know it's a draw but that's something for us to move forward with. Hopefully we can build on that and make sure we come away from Sydney with a win.
"It's been a tough tour, we've been outplayed in three games, finally we've proven more than anything to ourselves that we are a good enough side to compete over here.
"It's such a shame that it's taken until now. We always knew that there wasn't that much between the sides and we were right in this series and that's the really frustrating thing."