1. ITV Report

England captain Joe Root has admitted his side were outclassed by Australia in heavy Ashes defeat

Steve Smith celebrates after Joe Root falls at the WACA. Photo: PA

Joe Root admitted England have been outclassed by Australia as they surrendered the Ashes before Christmas following a comprehensive innings-and-41-run defeat in Perth.

England needed to bat for most, if not all, of the final day to keep the series alive but Josh Hazlewood hastened their demise with five for 48 as the tourists lurched from an overnight 132 for four to 218 all out.

Australia, therefore, take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series and England captain Root has demanded a response from his side when they head to Melbourne on Boxing Day.

He said on BT Sport 1: "It's very difficult to take. Fair play to Australia, they've outplayed us in all three games and we've got to be better.

Joe Root walks off dejected as England's slim Ashes hopes fade away. Credit: PA

"We've got to make sure we go to Melbourne and prepare well and put in really good performances there."

Root was unwilling to draw too much attention to the controversy earlier in the day, when overnight rain had somehow seeped under the covers and onto the pitch.

England coach Trevor Bayliss voiced his concerns to broadcasters, during morning deliberations, that conditions had been rendered too "difficult ... maybe even a little dangerous".

But Root said: "When we got here this morning it definitely wasn't fit to play, it obviously dried up as the sun and wind got to it and they obviously worked very hard to get it right. I think by the end there it was probably fit to play."

Australia regain the Ashes as they take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. Credit: PA

England have had spells in the ascendancy in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth but Root was left to lament their inability to grab the Test matches by the scruff of the neck.

He said: "Throughout the three games we've played some really good cricket but not for long enough periods of time and those crucial moments have been grasped by Australia. Fair play to them, that can be the difference sometimes.

"It's been encouraging for the last two games that there's performances in there and very frustrating in another way that we've not managed to really be ruthless when we've been on top or got ourselves back into the game.

"They're harsh lessons we'll have to learn quickly."

Despite a first series defeat as England captain being confirmed at the WACA, Root believes he can hold his head high as leader of the team.

Australia celebrate as Chris Woakes is dismissed for England. Credit: PA

He added: "On a personal front, I look at captaincy on the field and it felt like I tried absolutely everything and I think that's all you can judge yourself on."

Australia captain Steve Smith led by example with a career-best 239 to help his side to 662 for nine declared in response to England's 403 all out.

Despite some resistance from Dawid Malan, who followed up his first-innings century with a defiant 54 on Monday, Australia never looked back after Hazlewood took the wicket of Jonny Bairstow with his first ball of the day.

And Smith paid a special tribute to frontline bowlers Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon after they clinched a series victory at the earliest opportunity.

He said: "I'm just so proud of the boys. The way we've been able to win this series and wrap things up here in Perth and get that urn back, it's been quite amazing.

"The (bowlers) have done a terrific job to get us the 20 wickets that we've needed in every game. We haven't won a toss and we've probably had the toughest of the conditions as well. I'm just really proud of everyone in that dressing room."