Colombo, Nov 27 (IESports) After England’s emphatic 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka, their captain Joe Root stated they were no longer a side that succeeds only at home, and had proven they can adapt to foreign conditions.
England defeated Sri Lanka by 42 runs here on Monday – it was their first series victory in Sri Lanka since 2002, and their only three-Test sweep in Asia.
“It’s about being adaptable and we’ve shown we can do that,” Root said after the game. “We’ve shown we are not a one-trick pony any more. And that should fill us with a huge amount of confidence going into future tours.”
“We’ve had to do things very differently here. It’s been amazing how much the ball has turned. So the most pleasing thing is how quickly we adapted to that. We’ve had to adapt and grow as a group,” he said.
“We’ve been brave. We’ve done things differently to how we have in the past, but that’s not frightened us. We really bought into that and played it to our advantage. We’ve got three wonderful spinners that complement each other very well, backed up very ably by some very good seam bowling,” said Root.
Jack Leach, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, the England spin trio, made the most out of conditions in Sri Lanka, claiming 47 scalps between them across the three Tests. Ali, in particular, was splendid with a tally of 18 wickets, which included four four-wicket hauls,an ICC report on Tuesday said.
“It’s nice to know we don’t just rely on Anderson and Broad,” said Root. “We gave opportunities for young, less experienced guys to step up and show their worth. Those three spinners dovetailed really well and built pressure.”
“Moeen has really stepped up as a senior bowler and led the way. He’s been quite vocal at times on plans and trying to get the best out of the other two guys and he deserved a lot of credit,” the England captain said.
“But we’ve got to be open to doing things differently wherever we go. We’ve done things in a certain way in these conditions. But it will be different in the West Indies, different in South Africa and obviously very different in Australia next time we’re over there,” Root said.
“That’s the one we really want to get right. But we’ve got some time to figure out what’s going to work for us and adapt our squad to exploit those conditions,” he said.
Root also lavished praise on Ben Foakes, who was Player of the Series, and top-order bat Rory Burns, both of whom made their international debuts in the series.
“Foakes has been brilliant, too. He has come into the team on very difficult surfaces, stood up to the stumps for long periods of time and looked pretty faultless. It’s great to see him take to Test cricket as well as he has,” said Root.
“(Burns) has been a consistent performer at the top of the order for Surrey, but has spent most of his time facing seam bowling with the ball zipping around. Here, on his first trip with England and all the pressures that brings, he has faced spinners with a new ball, which is completely different to anything he will have experienced before. But he has been brilliant and played a vital role,” he said.
There was also plenty of praise for the old guard, including Ben Stokes. “At any stage, Ben Stokes can turn a game on his own,” said Root. “There were a couple of moments of brilliance in the field in Kandy, and then here he found a way as a seam bowler to expose batters on this surface.”
“That’s a great skill. With bat and ball, he’s adapted to different roles, whether that’s been looking for reverse swing, trying to bowl short, or batting up and down the order,” he said.
“He always gives absolutely everything and he’ll never shy away from any challenge put in front of him. He’s a complete team man and sets a brilliant example to the rest of the group. He is a great leader within that dressing room,”the England captain said.
As for himself, Root said he was slowly beginning to understand the nuances of the captaincy. “I felt I was growing into the role very nicely towards the end of the India series,” Root said. “We’ve done things very differently here and I’ve had to drive that and made a point of it.”
“People might have thought ‘that’s a bit radical’ but it’s really worked for us and that’s a great lesson for this group moving forward and for me as captain,” he said
“It has filled me with a huge amount of confidence. Everyone has really accepted it and bought into it and now we have seen it work. Hopefully, this can be the start of this team really growing,” Root added.