Highlights from day three of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England at Galle
Joe Root’s latest brilliant performance for England was lauded as a “masterclass” while Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara said even he learnt things from watching Root bat in Galle.
The England captain continued his excellent start to the year by following up his double century in the first Test with 186 in the second Test to lift his side out of trouble.
He has looked supreme against spin and has moved above Geoffrey Boycott, Kevin Pietersen and David Gower in the list of England’s all-time Test runs, with only Alec Stewart, Graeme Gooch and Alastair Cook ahead of him now.
Sri Lanka vs England
January 25, 2021, 4:25am
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Sangakkara, who played 134 Tests for Sri Lanka and finished his career with an average of 57.40, was full of praise for Root’s “outstanding” innings.
“Everyone has been amazed at how easy he has made it look,” he said on Sky Sports.
“Not just in this innings, which is probably an easier pitch at this stage, but also the first Test. Magnificent gameplan, execution was clinical, the use of the sweep, the reverse sweep, the rotation of strike, the technique, the poise, the calmness, everything was incredible. It was brilliant to watch and to learn from.”
Asked what he had learned from watching Root bat, Sangakkara said: “You can score runs but maybe not have that same poise or ease that Joe Root had. That control, there was never a time, even if the ball did drag or do something unexpected, that he showed any signs of panic or changing his gameplan.
- Second Test scorecard: Sri Lanka vs England
- Day three – as it happened
“He has worked on it and read the situation and pitch and he was in total control. For me or anyone batting or a coach, the execution and way he handled himself all throughout the day was a great learning experience.”
Root helped take England to 339-9 before he was run out in the final over of the third day.
He batted for 309 balls and by the end of the day – towards the end of which he struggled with cramp – he had been on the field for 93 per cent of this Test series.
Jos Buttler enjoyed a 97-run partnership with Root and also said it was a “great education” to watch him bat.
“To back up his double hundred in the first Test, to show the physical and mental application to go and do it again it was a masterclass in batting against spin. It has been a great education for all of us and we have thoroughly enjoyed watching him and gutted for him to get out in that fashion at the end of the day.
“We have to not just praise the tactical and technical aspects of him but the physicality and concentration to apply himself for so long is amazing. It’s been great to watch, his skill level is second to none really.”
4:26 The pundits give their views and opinions on the use of the stump mics during play after Niroshan Dickwella’s friendly banter throughout the day
Root’s strong start to the year bodes well for England as they could play up to 17 Test matches, including India away next and Australia to finish the year.
Buttler thinks Root is determined to be successful in 2021 after failing to make a century in Test cricket last year.
“It has certainly felt like having watched him in that first warm-up game we had he looked hungry and determined and he has spoken about the high standards he sets for himself.
“He certainly sits at the top table of cricketers in the world and the standards he sets and drives on to achieve is what makes him so good. That hunger to back up a double century in the first game with another big hundred shows where he is at.”
Watch day four of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England from 4.25am on Monday on Sky Sports Cricket.