Joe Root says the pain and humiliation heaped upon the England team in Australia 18 months ago was the driving force behind his red-hot Ashes performances.
Root, who’s scored two centuries in four Tests to usurp Steve Smith at the top of the world batting rankings, was axed from the side for the fifth Test in Sydney as Michael Clarke’s side closed in on a 5-0 series win.
He was also part of a disastrous World Cup campaign that saw England become a laughing stock in the eyes of the world when they failed to reach the quarter-finals after being beaten by Bangladesh.
But those disasters have been largely forgotten thanks to a crushing innings defeat of Australia in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge in under two-and-a-half days to reclaim the urn the hosts so meekly surrendered in Perth in December 2013.
“That was one of the things that drove us forward, knowing what we went through there,” Root said.
“All that hurt and pain, all the stuff we’ve had to overcome since then.
“I can’t speak for other people, but personally that was the inspiration. That was a tough tour so when you get into a position of strength, and you know what it’s like to be on the wrong side of it, you want to make sure you drive it home.
“You want to make sure you’re not in that position again. It’s definitely one of the reasons why this is so enjoyable.”
Aside from a big hundred at Lord’s in July 2013, Root only passed 30 once in seven innings against Australia and in the return series three months later he averaged 27.42 which subsequently led to his axing.
But it has been a vastly different player that Australia have faced in 2015, with the baby-faced Yorkshireman averaging 73.83 and topping the run scoring charts.
“I made a few changes,” Root said.
“The main thing I did was stick to my strengths. I made sure that all the shots I thought were my bread and butter, I worked on and made sure they were as good as they could possibly be.
“Then I just tightened one or two other things. Rather than try to have the perfect game, I was going to make sure that if balls came into areas where I felt comfortable scoring, I was going to make sure I made it count.”