Mike Atherton has described Ben Stokes as a potential candidate to replace Joe Root as England’s Test captain.

Root's future as skipper is the subject of speculation after Australia took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Ashes series.

And former captain Atherton believes that Cumbrian all-rounder Stokes would be an obvious successor.

Writing in The Times ahead of next week's fourth test in Sydney, Atherton said: “There have been so many errors here, from selection to strategy, that the captain has to bear personal responsibility.

"This could have been a much closer series had Root got things right on the field.

“Root has been a good England captain, and has always carried himself superbly and is an incredible ambassador for the sport, but having done the job for five years and having had three cracks at the Ashes, including two awful campaigns in Australia, it is time for someone else to have a go.

News and Star: Mike Atherton (photo: PA)Mike Atherton (photo: PA)

“Ben Stokes is a viable alternative, having done an excellent job as a stand-in briefly in the summer. His bowling is starting to wind down, and, as he may not get into England’s best T20 side now, he can be given a breather during those matches."

Atherton also said there is "no way" Chris Silverwood will or should survive as head coach after England's dismal Ashes performance.