Joe Root supports England rotation policy and says his side ‘couldn’t be in better place’ to challenge India

Captain Joe Root says he understands England’s rotation policy and feels his side “couldn’t be in a better place” to challenge India after sealing a 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka.

Root’s side wrapped up a fifth successive Test match win away from home with a six-wicket success in Galle and now head to India looking to become the first team to inflict a home Test series defeat on Virat Kohli’s men since an Alastair Cook-led England triumphed in 2012.

The tourists will be without Jonny Bairstow for the first two Tests of the four-match series and Jos Buttler for the final three as the selectors continue to rotate their multi-format players in a busy year of 17 Test matches and a T20 World Cup.

  • England seal series win over Sri Lanka
  • Second Test scorecard

Root – who will be boosted by the returns of all-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer for the India series after they were rested against Sri Lanka – said: “Any captain will tell you they want their best players fit, firing and at the top of their game all the time.

“Unfortunately because of the world we are in right now it’s not feasible and we have to manage that as best we can.

“We have to look at [beating Sri Lanka] as a platform, a starting point and not be happy with what we have achieved. The challenge is to replicate it over and over again as a team.”

England lost 4-0 on their most recent visit to India in 2016, while the hosts are toasting a stunning 2-1 series win in Australia, sealed last week with victory at The Gabba in Brisbane.

On India, Root added: “We have four very important games against arguably the best team in the world in their own conditions.

“We are going to have to play right at the top of our game to win but we couldn’t be in a better place to go and challenge them. That really excites me and should excite the rest of the group as well. There is so much further this group can go, we just have to stay hungry.”

We had a lot of things out of our favour – lost the toss in both games – and managed to find a way in difficult conditions with very little lead-up to the series. In the past I think we have been guilty of being slow starters so for us to start as well as that is really pleasing but also to keep growing and improving throughout the two games was quite impressive.

Joe Root

England’s spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess claimed four wickets each on day four of the second Test in Galle as Sri Lanka were rolled for 126 in their second innings.

Opener Dom Sibley – whose top score in three previous innings in the series was four – then hit an unbeaten 56, sharing an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 75 with Jos Buttler, as England reached their target of 164.

Root said: “It is nice to see their hard work paying off. They are doing all the right things in practice and we have very good conversations about how to play in these conditions with bat and ball.

For our seamers to be as effective as they were on that Galle wicket shows the improvement in taking wickets abroad which is something we have struggled with in the past. It also shows the skill of our bowlers.

Joe Root

“They executed really well and what I took more than anything was the way we dealt with pressure, both in the field and with the bat. One of our biggest traits in the dressing room is character.

“For our spinners, guys with little cricket behind them, to restrict Sri Lanka to a total we could chase was a brilliant effort.

“Even in the partnership towards the end [Lasith Embuldeniya and Suranga Lakmal put on 48 for Sri Lanka’s ninth wicket] – we didn’t really panic which in the past I think we have been guilty of.

“Then for our batters to stay as poised and as calm as they did was really impressive.

“I think [Sibley’s innings] is testament to the work he has put in to figure out his method on a fourth-day wicket and very extreme conditions

“To see us across the line in a high-pressure environment is really impressive especially on the back of a couple of low scores.”

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