Eng­land have a clear plan how to be­come No1 in world, says cap­tain

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - First Test - By Nick Hoult CRICKET NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT in Galle

Joe Root chal­lenged his play­ers to build on their first away Test win for two years and use it as a launch pad to ful­fil their ul­ti­mate am­bi­tion to be the best team in the world.

Such an am­bi­tion is a long way from be­ing ful­filled but the 211-run vic­tory was Root’s first as cap­tain over­seas and ends a winless se­quence of 14 matches stretch­ing back to Oc­to­ber 2016 when Eng­land beat Bangladesh in Chit­tagong. They have since lost 4-0 in In­dia and Aus­tralia, as well as los­ing a two-test se­ries in New Zealand.

Only four mem­bers of this team played in the Chit­tagong Test and the pres­ence of new faces such as Ben Foakes and Jack Leach, who took five wick­ets in his sec­ond Test, as well as the con­tin­ued suc­cess of Sam Cur­ran, gives Root great hope for the fu­ture.

“This is very spe­cial and I thought we played some re­ally good stuff. It was great to see guys com­ing into the team and tak­ing their op­por­tu­nity. We played in a col­lec­tive way, ev­ery­one con­trib­uted. I said for a long time we were go­ing to do things dif­fer­ently and

we have backed that up. Over the last eight months or so we have found some­thing. We have a real clear plan about how we want to get to be the No1 side in the world.

“We have grown through­out the sum­mer and this is an­other step. We have so much more hard work to do but to see so many tal­ented play­ers in the XI, or the squad, and the dif­fer­ent op­tions we can go with is credit to the group.”

This was Eng­land’s first win in Galle, and Sri Lanka leave for Kandy de­mor­alised and weak­ened by the re­tire­ment of Herath and in­jury to cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal, who has a grade one groin tear.

Root will not care. Next week he can win a se­ries in Sri Lanka, but first he will have to sit in on a dif­fi­cult se­lec­tion meet­ing. Foakes is un­drop­pable af­ter be­ing named man of the match on his de­but, leav­ing Jonny Bairstow fret­ting on a re­call. He has ac­cepted he will not be keep­ing wicket and must hope a space will open up in the mid­dle or­der. He could come in for one of the spin­ners but they have just shared 16 wick­ets in the match, the best by an Eng­land at­tack since 1958.

“I am go­ing to en­joy that dif­fi­cult meet­ing,” said Root. “It is go­ing to be tough but that is what you want; guys per­form­ing.”

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