Root hoping to repeat success of last series

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Dan Lawrence one of England’s brightest young batting talents


Dom Bess has become England’s first choice spinner


England may not have the likes of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid in their spin line-up, but skipper Joe Root is of the view that off-spinner Dom Bess could fill that void for his team with Jack Leach in the two-Test series against England starting at the Galle International Stadium today.

It was Leach along with Moeen and Rashid who were responsible for England’s 3-0 sweep of the series when they last toured Sri Lanka in 2018. 

“The spin conditions in Sri Lanka will hold him in really good stead the fact that he is experienced already in big spin conditions at home in Somerset colours and, he also had success in Port Elizabeth as well where it did spin quite drastically. We know he’s got the ability and the skills if the surface starts spinning quickly to take advantage of that. It’s a really good opportunity for him to show what he can do in these conditions,” said Root in a pre-Test match virtual press conference.

Bess, a 23-year-old off-spinner, has captured 19 wickets in 10 Tests at an average of 40.57 including a best of 5/51.

“One of the big challenges that come playing in Sri Lanka and in the subcontinent is that the rhythm of the game is so different to playing in English conditions. There’s a lot more spin, a lot more double spin that’s part and parcel of playing in this part of the world,” said Root. 

“It’s really important the guys are ready not just for that the rhythm of the game and the amount of spin but how they adapt to it quickly because within a day conditions can change. All these things we have discussed at length as a batting group and as a team. The last time we adapted quickly and grabbed those big moments in the game and won. Hopefully we can repeat that this time out,” he said.

With lots of rain around in Galle, England have put off naming their 11 for today.

“We got to consider the conditions again because we had a lot of rain in the last 24 hours. We want to look at the wicket and be really clear and sure the 11 are we want to go with is the best to suit these conditions and the surface.

“We prepared the best we can that’s all you can do leading to this game. At the same time we made the most of the time we got and we can’t ask any more from the guys it’s been a lot. We had some conversations about the conditions somewhat. The guys with really good experience is over here from the previous tour and it blends nicely. Hopefully we can transfer it to the game tomorrow,” said Root.

England are also looking at handing a Test cap to 23-year-old Essex right-hander Dan Lawrence. “Dan Lawrence is a very exciting player. He has been very impressive. He showed what he can do in county cricket and Alliance cricket last winter. He puts the sides under pressure with his range of shots, a very confident guy. I am very excited to see him getting to his work if he gets his chance.”

With the amount of rain around Root sees the opportunity for his fast bowlers also to play a role. “With quite a lot of rain and quite a lot of moisture around seam might play a bigger part. We saw the last time the role that Ben (Stokes) played, he had some influence in some stages of the game. I do think it is a very strong wicket taking option with the weather around.”

For England winning the two Tests against Sri Lanka is important to enhance their chances of making it to the final of the ICC World Test Championship at Lord’s.

“We got to make sure that we win the majority of our games. Want to get to a good start in the first game and take it from there. It’s exciting to know that there is still an opportunity for us to get to that World Test Championship final.” (ST)




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