Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013/14: Joe Root's 'over my dead body' attitude must inspire below-par batsmen
Yorkshireman kept his head when all around him others were losing theirs...
Last Updated: 09/12/13 8:44am
Root, 22, top-scored in the tourists' second innings with 87 in Adelaide after being promoted to number three in Jonathan Trott's absence but couldn't prevent Australia cruising to a 218-run win that puts them 2-0 up in the series.
However former England captain Hussain told Sky Sports that he's impressed with how the Yorkshire batsman has learnt from his mistakes in the series so far and says his underperforming team-mates must take note.
"What has disappointed me with the batting is the repetitive nature of dismissals," said Hussain, after four batsmen were caught at fine leg in England's second innings while trying to attack the short ball. "People continue to get out the same way.
"Have a look at Joe Root - a 22-year-old who got out flashing at the Gabba in the first innings. He's learnt from that and put the shot away. He put the sweep shot away here in the second innings and he doesn't take on the short ball because it's too high risk.
"I would challenge England's senior players - and it would make a lot out of a 22-year-old lad - and hold Joe Root and his innings up. I'd say 'look at the way that this young lad on his first tour of Australia went about his business, the way he played and his composure'.
"I've seen batsmen like this in Australia and other parts of the world who say 'I'm going to get some before you get me'. Aussies pick up on that very quickly; they think 'this lad is flapping away. Eventually I'm going to get him'.
"Joe Root went out there and said 'if there's a ball to hit, I'll hit it, but if not I'll leave it and make them get me out. He's on his first tour of Australia and looks very composed and very controlled. When all around him were losing their heads, he kept his.
"They don't all have to bat like him. You don't want Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior batting like Joe Root because each individual has their way, but they need to have his 'over my dead body' attitude. When he got out for 87 he was distraught and that's how every batsman should be on this tour."
England must now win two of the remaining three Tests to have a chance of retaining the urn and - given that their second innings total of 312 in Adelaide is their only score over 200 in the series so far - Hussain says it will be tough to turn the tour around.
"Andy Flower and Alastair Cook have got to have a look at each individual player and make sure that they are not shot mentally," he said. "Australia is a difficult place to tour when you are down because everyone - on and off the field - will get on your case. That's for certain.
"The press are already starting to write 'is this the worst England side to ever come down here?' This is where you need to be tough, where Flower and Cook need to earn their cash and where the players need to show just how good they are.
"No England side has ever come back from 2-0 down to win the Ashes so it is going to be very hard for England, especially considering their record in Perth.
"All credit to Australia. They won an important toss but certainly made use of that - they batted beautifully. England will now be looking back at how clumsy they were, both in their first innings when they batted but also in that first day in the field when they dropped three catches.
"Now's when you look back and think 'ah, that's where we lost this game'. They will also look at the number of times they are getting bounced out with the hook shot and the pull shot and that's something they'll have to put right.
"Australia are playing better cricket at the moment and with everything that is going on, on and off the field, it's difficult to drag that back."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict returns to deliver its judgement at 9pm on the same channel. Our coverage of the third Test begins at 2am on Friday morning.
David Gower, Nasser Hussain and Andrew Strauss assess England's turmoil and Perth options on the Sky Sports Ashes Podcast. Download it here or listen via Soundcloud...