Despite England failing to win the 2019 Ashes, skipper Joe Root feels that “it should be seen as a successful year” for the Three Lions as the team has won the 50-over World Cup, their first ever, this year.

The hosts go into Thursday’s fifth and final encounter of the ongoing Ashes 2-1 down, meaning they cannot place the urn in their trophy cabinet alongside the one-day World Cup, which they won for the first time in July.

But the skipper said his players were still focused on denying Australia their first series win in England since 2001 in the game starting on Thursday.

“It’s bitterly disappointing to not have got the Ashes back, but we haven’t lost anything yet,” Root said.

“We’ve got to make sure that we square the series up and there’s Test Championship points to play for as well which down the line could make a huge difference,” he added.

Meanwhile, Root was adamant that despite the disappointment of failing to win the series, England could still be proud of their achievements over the summer.

“To win the first 50-over World Cup is a huge achievement for English cricket, so, absolutely, it should be seen as a successful year, but we’ve got a chance to level this series and make it slightly better than it looks right now so that’s the full focus of the group,” he said.

Notably, England’s failure has led to questions over Root’s position as captain, particularly given his inconsistent batting throughout the series.

But he said he knew the direction in which he wanted to take the team and was already looking forward to trying to win the Ashes in Australia in 2021/22.

“In terms of personnel, things might change, as they have done for a while,” Root said, adding, “But ultimately we need to focus on the core group of players that are going to lead this team forward both home and away and build from that and towards winning in Australia.”

(With inputs from PTI)