England skipper Joe Root has backed Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley to succeed in the subcontinent conditions. Both English openers failed to make an impact in the first Test against Sri Lanka.
Although England secured a relatively comfortable seven-wicket victory in Galle, everything didn't turn out smoothly for the visitors. The two openers were dismissed for single-digit scores in both the innings. And Root believes figuring out a way to score in subcontinent conditions is part and parcel of Test cricket.
"They are keen to learn and to get better, and I see them very quickly picking things up. It is a great chance for them to adjust quickly to these conditions and show everyone that they’ve got the game to perform out here. I see it as an opportunity to show that they can play in these conditions and I also see it as being part and parcel of Test cricket. It’s a part of your development as a young player coming into the side. You need to know how to play in these conditions, and it will benefit them, not only long term in Asia but also in matches where pitches do deteriorate late on anywhere in the world and start spinning drastically. You’ve got to have a game for it.” said Joe Root.
Dom Sibley scored 4 and 2, while Zak Crawley managed 9 and 8 in the first Test match in Galle. With a long tour to India awaiting the English players after the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, Joe Root would want the two openers to start scoring in subcontinent conditions.
Joe Root isn't thinking much about the World Test Championship finals
England are currently placed fourth in the ICC World Test Championship table. If the Three Lions want to have a realistic chance of making it to the finals back home, they will need to win four of their next five Tests. However, Joe Root isn't thinking too far ahead.
"We’ll think about that when that comes around. There’s a lot of cricket to be played before then, and we’ll look at that closer when it’s closer to the horizon. I know it’s boring, and I know I say it all the time, but we’ve got to start well and try to take the game from there because ultimately if we start to look four games ahead, we won’t give ourselves the best chance of winning right now." said Joe Root.
Joe Root has started 2021 with a bang after scoring 228 in the first innings in Galle, the highest score by an Englishman on Sri Lankan soil. He also became the second-fastest English batsman to reach 8000 Test runs.