Joe Root reacts to England's seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in first Test

Joe Root said the manner of England’s performance in the side’s seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka was ‘really pleasing’ and picked out the bowling displays of Dom Bess and Jack Leach, who both came away from the first Test with fifers.

England suffered a minor collapse as they slipped to 14-3 at the end of day four in Galle, with Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Root falling, but a resurgent Jonny Bairstow and debutant Dan Lawrence took the tourists over the line on the final morning with a 62-run stand.

Their partnership was not without challenges, though, as Lawrence – who impressed with a score of 73 in the first innings – came through an lbw review off the bowling of Dilruwan Perera.

The hosts later failed to review a delivery from Dilruwan to Lawrence which would likely have been overturned and the Essex batsman remained at the crease to help take England to their modest target of 74.

‘To come here with the little preparation that we’ve had and to play in the manner that we have in this game has been really impressive,’ England captain Root, who scored an imperious 226 in the first innings, told Sky Sports.

‘I thought it was a great effort yesterday, not a lot fell for us, we worked extremely hard and for the two spinners to come out the game with two fifers is a brilliant effort, especially with the little cricket they’ve played as well.

‘Coming into a series like this where the pressure is on is always tough but without the preparation, I think it’s a testament to their characters.

‘The whole bowling group in general, to bowl how we did after lunch in particular, it was a really good effort so it’s a good start to the tour.

‘We know that we have to keep getting better and that we will keep getting better but it’s really pleasing with the start that we have had.’

Spin bowlers Bess and Leach both had points to prove in the Test and did just that with impressive match figures of 8-130 and 6-177 respectively.

The last time two spinners came away from a Test between Sri Lanka and England with five wickets each was when the two teams first met way back in 1982.

‘Yeah, it’s a brilliant achievement and it shouldn’t be overlooked,’ Root added.

‘The exciting thing is that there’s still more to come from the group and the most important thing is that we have that attitude into the rest of this winter tour and into this next Test match.’

Asked about the physical and psychological impact of being in a bubble for a prolonged period, Root replied: ‘There’s a number of different challenges that come with it and I think that’s why it’s really important that you’re always looking to perform.

‘That’s whether it’s a bowling unit, looking at partnerships with the bat and finding ways of doing things together.

‘If you start trying to play the game on your own it can be very, very difficult and I think it’s something we did very well throughout this game.’

Root has often been criticised for failing to convert fifties into bigger, match-winning innings and the Yorkshire star was delighted to prove a few doubters wrong with his individual showing with the bat.

‘The thing that pleased me the most about my innings was my mindset as I thought I got into a really good place early on,’ he continued.

‘I managed to get my feet apart, I managed to get forward and back really well and felt I had a good balance between attack and defence.

‘I didn’t waver from that throughout which probably at times people have been critical of, you know, looking to convert those starts.

‘It’s nice to go on and make a really big one. I did a lot of talking before the game so it’s nice to follow that through.’

England and Sri Lanka return to the same ground on Friday for the second and final Test, with play due to begin at 04:30 GMT.

Source: Read Full Article