We have to keep looking to improve-Joe Root
November 18, 2018
Joe Root has set his sights on taking England to the top of the Test rankings after winning his first series away from home as captain.
Spinner Jack Leach completed his maiden five-wicket haul as England dismissed Sri Lanka for 243 on the final morning in Kandy to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series with one match to play, in Colombo from Friday.
The victory is England’s first in a Test series on the road since their 2-1 triumph in South Africa in 2016 under Alastair Cook and first in Sri Lanka since the Nasser Hussain-led side of 2001.
“We have to keep looking to improve. We don’t want to stand still – we have seen this group grow in the last six to eight months but we are not the finished article,” said Root, whose side sit third in the ICC Test rankings at present.
“We want to get to No 1 in the world at some point and we are going to have to be really consistent in all parts of the world to do that.
“If we keep the same attitude, drive and competition for places we will give ourselves a really good chance of getting what we want. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”
Root set the tone in England’s second innings with quick-fire 124 from 146 balls after his team had slipped to 109-4 – the tourists eventually racking up 346 before Sri Lanka fell short in their pursuit of 301 to lose by 57 runs.
“We said we were going to come out here and play bold cricket, be courageous at times, and everyone has bought into that and we have seen the rewards,” added Root, who has now notched 15 Test centuries.
“It would be very easy to talk a good game but we have backed it up as a whole squad – not just the 11 on the field.
“The guys that missed out have all been in the hunt to play and worked extremely hard, pushing the guys in the XI. We have done really well.
“There are some very exciting young guys on the sidelines who haven’t played a huge amount and then guys with a lot of experience as well.