Joe Root praised England's fight after his side clung on for a draw in the fourth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The target of 388 needed for victory was never really part of the equation as England looked to bat out the final day to secure a draw and avert the prospect of a third 5-0 defeat in Australia this century, and they scraped through with just one wicket remaining.

Opener Zak Crawley top-scored with 77, Ben Stokes registered his second half-century of the match while there were also battling efforts from Jonny Bairstow and Jack Leach before Stuart Broad and James Anderson batted out a tension-filled last two overs in the gloom.

This was the 37th Test partnership between Stuart Broad and James Anderson and just the second time they have not been separated. The other was in England’s first innings against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in October 2015.

"It's a small step forward," Root, who himself made 24 in the second innings, told reporters. "Coming into the game, I spoke a lot about putting pride back into English cricket and into our Test performances.

"I think the fight and the desire, and the character shown here in these five days, have done that in a small way. We never make it easy for ourselves, do we?

"It would have been nice if all the work had been done by the top order, as you always want, but it doesn't seem to fall like that. We found a way to get it done today and it was very much a team effort."

Following a tense draw on the final day of the fourth Test, Nasser Hussain says England can take a lot of credit for their performance
The rear-guard action in Sydney was a stark contrast to the third Test when England crumbled to 68 all out to surrender the series in Melbourne and Root was encouraged by the way his side responded to that humiliation.

"It's hugely important, especially on the back of the previous Test which was a really dark day for English Test cricket," he said.

"It would have been easy to roll over and feel sorry for ourselves. The guys were trying to put some pride back in the badge and show how much they care about playing for England.

"We didn't win the Test match and were a very long way behind the game but we found a way to get a draw and that shows the character, the pride and the desire the guys feel when they put on an England shirt."

While pleased with the battling qualities England showed to avoid defeat, Root acknowledged that they still have plenty of work to do if they are to claim their first Test win in Australia since 2011 at Hobart next week.

"There's still a long way to go as a team and we've got to make some big improvements, we know that," he said at the post-match presentation.

"But Jonny [Bairstow] played some of the best cricket I think I've seen him play in an England shirt.

"Zak Crawley played very fluently today, he looked comfortable out there and a number of guys have had some quite difficult injuries to play through and showed plenty of heart and character to fight through this Test match and get us a draw.

"It would be nice to be able to front up again next week and hopefully go one better."

Root also confirmed that Jos Buttler will not play in the fifth Test because of a finger injury.

Buttler sustained the knock while keeping wicket in Australia's first innings at the SCG. The 31-year-old will now fly home, with Sam Billings in line to make his Test debut behind the stumps in Hobart from Friday.

"Jos Buttler is going to be going home," Root said at the post-match presentation.

"It's quite a bad injury, so it's a really disappointing shame for him and for the team but it's part and parcel of playing Test cricket, sometimes you've got to take these things.

"And the way he stood up throughout the rest of the game having taken that and put in for the boys is testament to his character and how much he cares about playing for this team."

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