Joe Root paid tribute to the ‘unbelievable’ Barmy Army after England clinched a draw in Melbourne to avoid a potential Ashes whitewash.
Australia regained the urn after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series in Perth but were under the pump for four days at the MCG.
Alastair Cook rediscovered his form with a superb double century after Australia suffered a batting collapse to be bowled out for a below-par score of 327.
But England were unable to force a victory on the final day of the match as they only took two wickets on an incredibly docile pitch.
Throughout the match, Root has gestured towards the Barmy Army, thanking them for their support, and the skipper was keen to reiterate his gratitude at the close of play.
‘They’ve been absolutely unbelievable throughout the whole trip, but this week in particular,’ Root told BT Sport.
‘There’s no doubt they’re the best fans in the world.
‘They have travelled over here and seen some tough games over the course of this tour and they are still there supporting us all the way.
‘They have been unbelievable and the players appreciate it so much.’
England were much improved in the fourth Ashes clash but Steve Smith scored yet another century – his third of the series – to clinch a draw.
‘It’s obviously frustrating not to win the game but it’s a very flat wicket and it was very hard for the bowlers out there,’ Root added.
‘Steve played very well and was backed up by Mitchell Marsh. Fair play to them. they played well.
‘It’s as flat a wicket as you will ever see, if you played on that for another four days I think it would be the same.
‘We go to Sydney and we’ve still got a goal of winning that game and ending the tour on a high.’
Root was also pleased by the response of his senior players in Melbourne; Cook ended a dismal run with an unbeaten 244 while Stuart Broad took four wickets after registering the worst figures of his career in Perth.
‘There was obviously a lot of disappointment,’ Root said. ‘We know we underperformed, a lot of guys had points to prove and you saw that out in the middle.’
Australia skipper Smith, meanwhile, said: ‘It was nice to be there at the end and get the boys to the draw, there was only two results that could happen.
‘It was about digging deep and I’m pleased to be there at the end.’
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