Sri Lanka v Engand, 2nd Test, Galle


Joe Root believes England will go into their series against India with “a huge amount of confidence” after completing victory in Sri Lanka.

England’s six-wicket win in Galle represented their fifth successive Test victory both overseas and in Asia. And while Root, England’s captain, admitted his side’s preparations for the India series were not ideal, he felt their experiences in Sri Lanka held them in “good stead” as they go into it.

India have not lost a Test series at home since England’s victorious campaign in 2012-13 – indeed, they have only lost once at home since the end of 2004 – and, despite a host of absences, recently completed a series victory in Australia. On England’s most recent visit in late 2016, Virat Kohli’s men exacted revenge for that previous loss with a 4-0 victory..

But Root feels the character England have shown in adversity and the experience they have gained means they “couldn’t be in a better place” to take on such a challenge.

“What we have got is a huge amount of confidence coming out of these two games,” Root said. “We’ve had to manage different situations and all of that will stand us in really good stead.

“Now we’ve got four very important games against arguably the best team in the world in their own conditions. We’ll have to play right at the top of our game to win out there. But we couldn’t be in a better place to go and challenge them.”

England overcame far-from-ideal preparation – including Moeen Ali’s pre-series Covid diagnosis and subsequent isolation, as well as rain during their intra-squad warm-up game – to prevail in Sri Lanka and Root knows they will have to do show similar “resilience” in India. They will arrive on Wednesday and spend six days in quarantine before they have just three days of training ahead of the first Test.

“It’s going to be strange,” Root admitted. “We’ve got to be quite realistic: we are going to have seven or eight days with no cricket now with six days in quarantine. Then we will have three very important days of preparation ahead of the series.

“We had a lot of things out of our favour [in Sri Lanka]. We lost the toss in both games and we managed to find a way in very difficult conditions with very little build-up to the series. In the past, we’ve been guilty of being slow starters, whether it be home or away. So for us to start as well as that was very pleasing, but also to keep growing as a team and improving throughout the two games is quite impressive.”

Although Root himself was England’s stand-out performer with two big hundreds and 426 runs in the series all told, a range of different players produced telling moments with bat and ball – including Stuart Broad and James Anderson with their incisive, economical seam bowling; the spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess who picked up 22 wickets between them despite rarely being at their best, and a pair of junior batsman, Dan Lawrence and Dom Sibley, with a crucial half-century in each Test.



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