Underfire England coach Chris Silverwood has insisted that there were positives to take from England’s innings defeat at the MCG.

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England were bowled out for 185 and 68 to hand Australia an innings victory that ensured that the urn will stay in Australia’s hands for another 18 months. Australia’s first innings total of 267 is the lowest to win a men’s Test by an innings this century.

England’s dire second innings performance capped off what has been a galling year for their batting unit, Joe Root apart. They finish the calendar year with 13 sub-200 scores and nine defeats – a world record they now share with the 2003 Bangladesh side. The 54 ducks registered by England’s batters over the course of the year is another joint world record, one that they share with the England team from 1998. Root ended the year with an astonishing 1,178 more Test runs than the next highest scoring Englishman in 2021, Rory Burns.

But speaking after their latest mauling, Silverwood was keen to highlight the few positives. Asked by BT Sports‘ Alison Mitchell as to whether or not the England team respond to Silverwood as head coach, Silverwood said: “Yeh, I think they do. We had a good honest chat after the last one [the Adelaide Test], it’s just that we have to couple those performances together.

“We have to find a way of pushing back against this bowling attack and we have to find a way of scoring runs. I think if we look at yesterday – we had a bit of disruption in the morning which we all know about – I think that the way the guys came in and applied themselves on the field, and I think the way the bowling attack rallied and got us back into a position where we back into this game, I think was credit to them and I think the way that we caught in the first innings was good as well.

“So I think there are positives coming out of this and I’ve got to give our boys credit for the way they pushed back yesterday but we have to find a way of scoring runs against this attack.”

Pending the results of further Covid-19 tests on the England squad – so far three support staff and three of their family members have returned positive tests – the series will move onto Sydney and then Hobart. England have now lost 12 of their last 13 Tests in Australia; their last win on Australian soil came all the way back in January 2011.