Joe Root believes England can go to India confident after Sri Lanka win | England in Sri Lanka 2020-21

Joe Root claimed his England team “could not be in a better place” to take on India in their own backyard provided they continue to show ...


Joe Root claimed his England team “could not be in a better place” to take on India in their own backyard provided they continue to show the attitude and character witnessed during their two Test victories in Sri Lanka.

A four-match series against Virat Kohli’s side begins in Chennai on 5 February with the quality of opposition ratcheted up significantly – the hosts are coming off the back of their famous victory in Australia and are unbeaten at home since Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar spun England to a 2-1 win in 2012.

The prospect of Root’s current touring party following suit is not helped by a six-day quarantine period in hotel rooms that leaves only three days of training before the series opener. The in-form Jos Buttler sitting out the final three Tests for rest similarly hampers their chances, even if two more trump cards return in Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.

Speaking after his side’s six-wicket win in Galle, Root said: “We’re going to have seven or eight days with no cricket, then three very important days of preparation. But what we have got is a huge amount of confidence coming out of these two games.

“We’re going to have different challenges, different surfaces, different situations to manage in India. It is about reacting to that and having that same attitude, that same character and desire to go on and win like we have here.

“We have to look at this win as a platform and a starting position, not be happy with what we’ve achieved. India are 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’s win in Sri Lanka made it five in a row away from home – a run last achieved in 1914 – while the 2-0 scoreline theoretically keeps them in the hunt for the summer’s World Test Championship final, even if they need to win three matches in India.

Dom Bess and Jack Leach would probably need to surpass Swann and Panesar nine years ago to make it so, but having watched the pair claim 24 of his side’s 40 wickets, Mickey Arthur, the Sri Lanka head coach, fancies England have a chance.

Arthur said: “We saw good signs for England with Bess and Leach. And Joe Root has batted at another level on this tour. He has been the difference and the beacon that I’ve always tried to use as an example to our batsmen. So I think England can go to India with every chance of winning that Test series.”

England will switch batting consultants for India. Jonathan Trott replaces Jacques Kallis after a short spell that certainly appeared to help Root as he scored 426 of his side’s 1,005 runs during the series. Trott’s former Warwickshire teammate Dom Sibley also praised the input of Kallis after an unbeaten 56 on the final day saw his tour end brightly.

Sibley said: “Watching Joe makes you feel a little inadequate to be quite frank. The way he has played this series has been incredible. With Jacques as well there have been some tough net sessions.

“I have been trying to change things mid-series when I felt really confident coming into the series with what I’d done to play spin. To doubt that and change things mid-series was obviously something that takes a little bit of courage.”

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Newsrust: Joe Root believes England can go to India confident after Sri Lanka win | England in Sri Lanka 2020-21
Joe Root believes England can go to India confident after Sri Lanka win | England in Sri Lanka 2020-21
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