Root tells England batsmen to ‘stand up’ in Sri Lanka


England captain Joe Root has urged his teammates, especially the batsmen, to make use of their opportunities in the Test series against Sri Lanka that starts in Galle on Tuesday.

It will be England’s first Test series since the retirement of opening batsman Alastair Cook, who is England all-time leading run-scorer in the longest format, with the left-hander a permanent fixture in the team since 2006.

Surrey’s Rory Burns is almost certain to make his Test debut in place of Cook at the top of the order while there may also be some changes to the batting line-up with Root asking his players to do something special.

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England will be trying to end a winless streak of 13 Tests away from home when the first Test against Sri Lanka gets underway in Galle on Tuesday.

Root said on Monday about starting the post Cook era: “He’s a big loss in terms of experience, but it’s a great opportunity for someone else to make that spot their own.

“Of course we’ll miss him, but it’s a chance to stand up and do something special for England”

Root also had good things to say about Sri Lanka’s own legend, spinner Rangana Herath, who will be retiring after the Galle Test.

The 40-year-old left-arm spinner will be looking to add to his 430 Test wickets.

Root said of the veteran slow-bowler: “We have to make sure we give him the respect he deserves.

“He’s had a fantastic career over 19 years and he’s a brilliant competitor. But we’ve got to play the situation and not look at it in terms of it being his last Test.”

The bookmakers are very much undecided in who they favour in the first test of this series with the home side Sri Lanka priced up at 9/4, England 11/4 and the favoured results of the draw being just better than even money at 11/10. Joe Root is the firm favorite to be England’s top batsman in the series and if the visitors are going to come away with the result they want there’s no doubt he’ll need to lead by example.

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