Clear plan the Root cause of success
Captain Joe Root has challenged his England side to become the best in the world after finally ending their winless run overseas.
A resounding 211-run victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle ended a sequence of 10 defeats and three draws on foreign soil, dating all the way back to October 2016.
Their home form is considerably better, though, and they have now won six of their last seven Tests.
England are currently third in the International Cricket Council’s rankings, behind South Africa and India, and Root’s aim is to replicate Andrew Strauss, whose side sat at the summit for a year between 2011/12.
A series win will allow England to leapfrog the Proteas, but India boast a handsome advantage in top spot.
“This last eight months or so we’ve found something, we’ve had a real clear plan and path as to how we want to get to be the number one side in the world,” said Root.
“We’ve grown throughout the summer and this win was another step in that direction. We’ve got so much more hard work to do but to see so many talented players around – whether they be in the XI or in the squad – and so many different options is, I think, a credit to the whole group.
“We had some clear plans about the way we were going to approach this Test and to see them work, to see the hard work leading into the game pay off, is great.
“The way we played in the summer was a sign of this team moving forward and we’ve really backed that up in our performance.”
England travel from Galle to Colombo on Saturday, before making their way to Kandy for next week’s second Test.
The squad will observe a twominute silence in the grounds of their hotel to mark Armistice Day.
“This last eight months or so we’ve found something” – Root
On the rise: Joe Root and Moeen Ali.