It was the first time in the series that the tourists had batted through a whole day, but Australia still require only four wickets on Monday to secure a 2-0 lead heading into the third match at Perth next week.
Root, who topscored with 87, his first international half-century Down Under, feels that it was important that England did not roll over under the attack of the Aussies' in-form pace bowler Mitchell Johnson.
"We needed guys to get some scores and show a bit of fight," Root told reporters. "As a team we know we have been under-performing. That is quite evident.
"We need to front up to the challenge ourselves, make sure we get in a scrap and do the country proud and lets hope that continues tomorrow.
"I enjoy the battle with Mitchell Johnson - he is trying to do his job for his country and I'm trying to do my job for mine."