Joe Root revealed how an in-depth review of his own technique - plus the chance to watch some of his peers in action - helped him start a busy 2021 in fine style. 

England's Test captain had failed to reach three figures in the format during the previous year, yet he put that lean spell behind him to deliver a double hundred in the series opener against Sri Lanka. 

The Yorkshireman made 228 - the second highest Test score recorded by an England player in Asia - to help his team seize control of the first Test in Galle, though the home side hit back when left to deal with a first-innings deficit of 286. 

While half-centuries from Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne, who ended day three on 76 not out, held up the tourists' push for victory, Sri Lanka still have plenty to do with the bat. 

For Root, though, the hard work has already paid off, as he explained the key was finding the right rhythm again at the crease. 

"I've changed quite a few things, to be honest," Root told the host broadcasters in Sri Lanka at the conclusion of play on day three.  

"I've tried to get a bit more rhythm back into my batting, just trying to find triggers and things I can do when the bowler is running in, or at the end of his mark, which might just give me a sort of rhythm to things.  

"It looks a bit different to previously, but it feels really good."

Root has now managed four Test double centuries - only Wally Hammond and Alastair Cook have managed more for England - while his 321-ball knock in Galle saw him pass a notable personal milestone. 

The 30-year-old became the seventh England batsman to reach 8,000 Test runs; he could rise several spots on the all-time list during the coming months too, as a hectic schedule provides plenty of opportunities to add to his career tally. 

After completing their two-Test trip to Sri Lanka, England have home and away series against India to come, while the end of 2021 sees an Ashes tour to Australia. 

The hectic schedule comes after 2020 was disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, though Root made use of his time by analysing not just his own game but also the methods used by other players, including New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, now ranked as the best Test batsman in the world. 

"There was so much time to look back at things and watch other cricket from around the world, some of the best players," Root said about the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis. 

"Kane at the minute is playing unbelievably well, so [I was] watching him and how he goes about things. You've got to learn off your peers - I think it's important to do that - and try and advance your game as much as possible.  

"We've got some fantastic coaches as well. [I'm] Trying to tap into the likes of Jacques Kallis, Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe on a regular basis. 

"I'm very fortunate to have those guys to learn from and work with."

Joe Root posted his highest score as captain of England before Sri Lanka mustered some overdue resistance to frustrate the tourists on day three of the first Test in Galle.

Skipper Root progressed from his overnight 168 not out to make 228 in England's 421 all out, which gave them a 286-run first innings lead after Sri Lanka's pitiful 135 total.

Only once before has Root bettered that score for England, when he made 254 against Pakistan at Old Trafford five years ago.

On that occasion, England swept to a 330-run victory, and they may yet win this clash with Sri Lanka by a comfortable margin, but they found the going difficult for large parts of Saturday.

The hosts reached stumps on 156-2 to trim their deficit to 130 runs and, while England need not panic, they will hope to find more penetration with their bowling on Sunday.

England rattled on from 320-4 at the start of play until their final six wickets fell for 49 runs.

Asitha Fernando triggered that slump with the new ball when he had Jos Buttler caught behind for 30 and bowled Sam Curran next delivery.

Moments after Root brought up his fourth Test double century with a boundary through midwicket, he and Dom Bess got in a muddle that saw the junior partner run out without scoring.

Veteran off-spinner Dilruwan Perera (4-109) prised out Jack Leach and Mark Wood, before Stuart Broad, batting at 11, found the ropes from successive balls.

Root understandably looked to hit out but a heave at Perera meant a Test best would prove beyond him, the captain caught just inside the deep midwicket boundary.

Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne continued the Sri Lanka fightback as they put on 101 for the first wicket, before the former fell for 62, slashing at a wide delivery from Curran and finding Leach at third man.

Sri Lanka kept plugging away, Kusal Mendis avoiding what would have been a fifth successive duck before he fell for 15 in the closing moments of the day, Leach finding some turn and drawing a faint edge through to Buttler.

Dan Lawrence gave Joe Root a first-hand look at his talents on debut in Sri Lanka and the England Test captain came away impressed.

Root brought up his 18th century in the longest format and reached 168 not out before rain and bad light spared Sri Lanka the punishment of an evening session on day two.

The other stand-out turn in England amassing 320-4 - a first-innings lead of 185 after the hosts were skittled on day one - was Lawrence, who plundered a stylish 73 to announce himself at the highest level.

A mighty slog-swept six off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya came with ample panache and was the shot of the day.

He helped add 173 alongside Root for the fourth wicket and the captain looked on approvingly.

"I'm very impressed, I thought he played magnificently well," he said.

"He showed exactly why he deserves his opportunity to play, and hopefully it is the start of something very special for him."

Root surpassed Kevin Pietersen's 151 in Colombo nine years ago to register England's highest score in Sri Lanka.

Despite this being his first Test century since November 2019, the Yorkshireman showed he had not lost his knack for going big - this his eighth score in excess of 150.

"Generally when I make a 100, I make it really count," he said.

"I have got quite a good record past 100, so tomorrow I will be trying to make that another really big one and drive the game forward from there.

"I felt that I got in a really good mindset throughout this game so far and I will try and take that into the rest of this winter tour and beyond.

"The previous couple of hundreds that I have got - even though they were a while ago - have come at the end of series.

"So to get one at the start of a very long winter is quite exciting, and hopefully I can take that forward into the rest of the game."

Joe Root led from the front with an unbeaten century to leave England in complete control of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Resuming on 66, the England captain batted throughout truncated day two in masterful fashion, reaching 168 at tea before rain and bad light put paid to the final session, with the tourists on 320-4 - a first-innings lead of 185.

Debutant Dan Lawrence made a wonderfully fluent 73 as part of a 173 alongside Root, with Sri Lanka's main hopes of avoiding a heavy defeat already seemingly pinned on further unseasonably wet weather.

Events might have panned out very differently had Dilruwan Perera removed Root lbw with the first ball of the day, but an umpire's call fell in the batsman's favour and he was off and running with a straight four crunched back down the ground in the same over.

The tireless Lasith Embuldeniya claimed his third wicket of the match as Kusal Mendis held a sharp chance at gully to dismiss Jonny Bairstow three runs shy of a half-century.

Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, Lawrence showed no sign of debut nerves as his attractive, smooth-wristed style transferred easily to the Test arena.

The highlight of the 23-year-old's 150-ball knock came when he launched left-arm spinner Embuldeniya for a huge, slog-swept six.

Root and Lawrence played in unhurried fashion off front and back foot, devouring a heavy diet of spin bowling until Dilruwan found extra bounce with the second new ball to have the youngster caught by Mendis at short leg.

Jos Buttler's scratchy progress against Dilruwan showed batting might not be quite as easy on a turning surface as Root and Lawrence suggested, meaning England are ominously placed despite the lost time.

Root begins pivotal year in emphatic fashion

A packed 2021 schedule is likely to define Root's reign as England's Test captain, with home and away series against India preceding a trip to Australia and a third crack at Ashes glory in his tenure.

He probably took a light lunch, having ended the first session on 99 in pursuit of a first ton in the longest format since November 2019.

In truth, the immaculate balance and judgement Root displayed throughout made an 18th Test century feel like a formality and, after nudging a single off Dilruwan from the second ball of the session, he went on to surpass Kevin Pietersen's 151 in Colombo in 2012 to make England's highest individual score in Sri Lanka.

Lawrence gives England a handy problem

Root and head coach Chris Silverwood will need to call on squad depth as they negotiate the challenges of the year to come and Lawrence's stylish introduction to the middle order was most welcome.

A remodelled Test side designed to bat time at the top of the order with the likes of Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Rory Burns now has another option in the engine room to make the purists purr. Ollie Pope knows he must hit the ground running on his expected return from shoulder surgery in India.

Embuldeniya gamely holds the fort in Galle

Sri Lanka's spinners have matched their batsmen for ineptitude at times, with Dilruwan struggling for length before finding some rhythm prior to tea and leg-spinner Hasaranga De Silva (0-63) going at more than four an over.

Skipper Dinesh Chandimal has turned time and again to Embuldeniya, who has wheeled through 38 overs for his 3-131. If a five-wicket haul arrives it will be the result of relentless toil.

Dom Bess claimed a five-wicket haul as England seized immediate control of the first Test against Sri Lanka, skittling their hosts for 135 before reaching 127-2 in reply.

Captain Joe Root and the recalled Jonny Bairstow combined to put on an unbroken third-wicket partnership worth 110 in the final session, the duo finishing unbeaten on 66 and 47 respectively as the tourists dominated the opening day of the series.

As for Sri Lanka, their problems started prior to the game getting underway as skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was ruled out due to a fractured thumb. 

Stuart Broad (3-20) claimed two early wickets as Sri Lanka were reduced to 25-3; they never recovered and were bowled out for the lowest first-innings score in a Test staged at Galle International Stadium.

Angelo Mathews - back in the Sri Lanka XI - combined with stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal to put on 56 for the fourth wicket, but that was the only partnership of real note in an innings that spanned a mere 46.1 overs. 

Chandimal top-scored with 28 before he was superbly caught in the covers by Sam Curran off Jack Leach (1-55), leaving the score at 81-5 early in the afternoon session. 

Niroshan Dickwella (12) chopped a long hop from Bess to backward point, while the off-spinner also benefited from a lucky deflection off short leg Bairstow - who took the full brunt of a sweep shot - that allowed wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to catch Dasun Shanaka (23). 

Dilruwan Perera fell quickly for a duck and, after a Leach finger tip saw Lasith Embuldeniya run out at the non-striker's end, Bess bowled PWH de Silva to complete his second five-wicket haul in Tests. 

England's reply stuttered early as opening pair Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley fell cheaply, both dismissed by left-arm spinner Embuldeniya to leave the score at 17-2. 

However, Bairstow – who hit a century when batting at number three in England's previous Test on Sri Lankan soil, back in 2018 – capitalised on his opportunity back in a team minus top-order regulars Rory Burns and Ben Stokes.

Root had needed a review to overturn an lbw decision against him on 20, but otherwise made serene progress to a half-century that means his team trail by just eight runs heading into Friday's action.

Sri Lanka and England both have plenty to ponder over team selection as they prepare to finally face each other in Test action again. 

The nations were due to meet in March 2020, only for their two-match series to be postponed amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. England were playing a tour game in Colombo at the time when the decision was taken to cut short the trip and head home. 

They have returned 10 months later for a rearranged tour, with the ongoing COVID-19 situation seeing them hosted in a bio-secure bubble for both games in Galle. 

However, Moeen Ali will miss the first Test – and possibly the next one that follows – after a positive test result upon arrival. Chris Woakes had to self-isolate having been considered a close contact, so missed out on England's only warm-up game. 

Moeen was joint-leading wicket-taker with fellow spinner Jack Leach - taking 18 wickets apiece - when England swept the hosts 3-0 on spin-friendly pitches when visiting Sri Lanka in late 2018, though captain Joe Root is aware the surfaces may not be the same now.

"We are very aware that the conditions might be very different to the last time we played here," Root told the media.

"We are not going to have too many preconceived ideas about what we are going to come up against. It's quite dangerous and lazy to walk into a series like that." 

The tourists are without Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes – who are both rested with a long tour to India to follow immediately afterwards – while opening batsman Rory Burns has remained in England for the birth of his first child. 

As for the hosts, a recent 2-0 Test series defeat in South Africa came at a cost in terms of injuries. Dhananjaya de Silva and Kasun Rajitha are both sidelined, plus Oshada Fernando has had no match practice after a spell out of action. 

However, there is good news over the fitness of batsman Dinesh Chandimal – who missed the second Test against the Proteas – and seamer Suranga Lakmal, plus former captain Angelo Mathews is back as Sri Lanka aim for a first Test win over their opponents since a famous triumph at Headingley in 2014. 


JONNY BE GOOD AGAIN?

With holes to fill in the batting order due to key absences, England are set to hand a debut to Dan Lawrence and recall Jonny Bairstow, who appears to be the choice to bat at number three with Zak Crawley moving up to open.

Bairstow made a century at that position in the previous Test against Sri Lanka, the third time in four first-innings knocks he has reached three figures against them. However, he has not played in the format since 2019, having lost his place after averaging 18.6 in 19 innings during that year.

Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes played a starring role for England in Sri Lanka last time, averaging 69.25 with the bat, but looks set to miss out on the final XI.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne's century in the second Test against South Africa was one of few positives for Sri Lanka in a 10-wicket defeat in Johannesburg to start the new year.

The opening batsman has averaged 66 on home soil in Tests since 2018 (14 innings), though none of his 10 career hundreds have come against England. 

Having Mathews back should ease some of the run-scoring burden, too. The 33-year-old may not contribute much with the ball these days but does average 45.31 with the bat in Tests. He will go into the opening game needing just 19 more runs to reach 6,000 in the format.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have won their previous two bilateral Test series against Sri Lanka; they are attempting to record three successive victories against them for the first time.
- Sri Lanka come into the series having only mustered one win in their past seven Test matches (D2 L4); they have just suffered a 2-0 series defeat against the Proteas, losing the opener by an innings margin before slumping to a 10-wicket loss in the second match of the series in South Africa.
- The hosts have only lost once in five Test matches against England at Galle International Stadium (W2 D2). However, the most recent meeting between the sides at the venue was won by the tourists.
- Sri Lanka have managed to get the umpire's decision overturned in 23 per cent of their referrals in Tests since the start of 2019. Only Australia (22 per cent) have a lower rate; England's record stands at 31 per cent across that period.
- Despite making his Test debut in Sri Lanka over 13 years ago, Stuart Broad has only played three Test matches in the country. He has picked up three wickets there (averaging 83), but is six scalps away from going above Courtney Walsh (519) and into sixth in the list of all-time leading Test wicket-takers.

Jonny Bairstow has lost his England Test contract and Mark Wood has also missed out, but Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Dom Sibley have all been handed central deals.

Bairstow had a red-ball contract for the 2019-20 season despite struggling for form.

But after featuring just once for the Test team in the past year - scoring only 10 runs in the Boxing Day Test in South Africa - the Yorkshire star has not seen his deal renewed.

Bairstow will instead have only a white-ball contract, as will fast bowler Wood.

The Durham seamer has played three times for the red-ball team this year, impressing in the tour of South Africa, where he took nine wickets in Johannesburg.

But Wood fell down the pecking order as England returned home, with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes often preferred.

By contrast, there was good news for Crawley, Pope and Sibley, who have established themselves in Joe Root's Test squad.

Crawley has steadily improved since his November 2019 debut, smashing 267 in his first innings against Pakistan last month.

Pope has been a regular this year, too, and had an unbeaten century in South Africa, while Sibley's steady work has bolstered a previously flimsy top order.

Meanwhile, Tom Curran had an increment contract for the previous campaign but now has a white-ball deal. Joe Denly has missed out altogether.

Eoin Morgan is relishing being able to field a near full-strength side in the Twenty20 International series against Australia and says the door is still open for Joe Root in the shortest format.

Morgan was unable to call upon the likes of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Sam Curran, who are back in the squad after being in the bio-secure bubble for the Tests against West Indies and Pakistan.

An ODI series win over Ireland and the 1-1 T20 draw against Pakistan gave other players an opportunity to stake a claim with the T20 World Cup in India to come next year.

Jason Roy misses the T20s versus Australia due to a side strain but could return in the 50-over format, while Ben Stokes remains with his family in New Zealand after his father was diagnosed with brain cancer in January.

Morgan has welcomed the return of some of his World Cup winners ahead of a three-match T20 series that starts in Southampton on Friday.

The white-ball captain, who confirmed Buttler will open the batting with Jonny Bairstow despite Tom Banton impressing against Pakistan, said: "For the first time this summer we are seeing the majority of our best team on the park and that's great.

"Bar injury and absent players, which is only a couple, we are at full strength. That is a nice place to be.

"We don't have to pick our best XI every series that we play because we can't put all our eggs in one basket because we need 16 or 17 players in the lead up to a World Cup, all vying for selection in the best 15.

"We found in the lead in to the 50-overs World Cup that was the best position to be in."

 

There was no place for Root in the T20 squad, but Morgan says the Test skipper can still force his way back in.

"Yes, we have had that conversation with Joe and he certainly does have a future. The conversation was surrounding Joe not getting in the best XI at the moment," said Morgan.

"We didn't want to carry him around and him not play any cricket. Joe wants to play T20 cricket and put his best case forwards particularly when he doesn't have a lot of opportunity to go back to Yorks and play T20 cricket.

"We felt it was a really good opportunity for him to do that."

Joe Root has been left out of England's squad for the Twenty20 International encounters with Australia, while Jason Roy will hope to prove his fitness to return in the ODI series.

Root has not played for his country in the shortest format since May 2019 and has been overlooked for the three-match T20 series, which starts at the Rose Bowl on Friday.

The Test captain has made an impressive start to the T20 Blast back in Yorkshire colours, having stated he has not given up on forcing his way back into squad for the T20 World Cup in India next year, but said he was realistic over his chances.

Root has been named in a 13-man squad for the ODI series, which follows the T20s, versus Aaron Finch's side at Old Trafford.

Roy will sit out the T20s due to a left side strain that has kept him out of the ongoing series against Pakistan, but will remain in the bio-secure bubble with a view to showing he can feature in the 50-over format.

Test players Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Mark Wood are back in both squads, while Chris Woakes is set to play in the ODI series.

Ben Stokes remains absent after flying to New Zealand to be with his family, as his father Ged has brain cancer. Fellow all-rounder David Willey was overlooked for both squads despite being man of the series in the ODIs against Ireland. 

National selector Ed Smith, said: "These two series against Australia provide an exciting end to the summer. We have selected strong squads.

"We are also continuing to develop depth in preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cups."

 

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.

Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood.

Joe Root has urged England to seize the moment when they attempt to seal a series win over Pakistan with uncertainty over exactly when they will play Test cricket again.

England will start the third Test at the Rose Bowl on Friday with a 1-0 lead after a frustrating weather-ruined contest at the same venue ended in a draw on Monday. 

The tourists have not suffered a series defeat in England in the longest format for a decade, drawing on their previous two visits. 

England beat West Indies 2-1 when international cricket returned following a coronavirus-enforced hiatus and with scheduling still to be confirmed in such uncertain times, Root has called on his team-mates to step up again in Southampton. 

The England captain said: "My message to the guys was quite simple today, that we don't know when the next time will be that we play Test cricket, so let's make sure we throw everything into this week. 

"Let's make sure we leave no stone unturned and we give everything to each other and the badge going into this last game. 

"The guys have prepared really well over the last couple of days and I fully expect everyone to give everything over the next five days and give ourselves the best chance of winning the series 2-0." 

England have named an unchanged squad for the finale, but Root says the hosts will leave it late to name their final XI. 

Asked if spinner Dom Bess could miss out in favour of an all-seam attack, he said: "We've not settled on an 11 yet. It's so hard to tell with that wicket right now, it's obviously been under cover for a large proportion of the last week. 

"With finally some sunshine and a bit of wind, it could change drastically over the course of today. Try and keep everything on the table for tomorrow, then we'll make a call." 

The two sides agreed to start 30 minutes earlier than scheduled in the final Test if time is lost due to bad weather on the previous day.

Captains Joe Root and Azhar Ali were both able to draw positives from the drawn second Test between England and Pakistan, a match which was ruined by stoppages due to bad light and rain.

Only 134.3 overs of play were possible across the five days in Southampton, meaning England remain 1-0 up with a game to play in the three-match series.

After Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 236 in their first innings, England reached 110-4 before declaring on a final day that did not start until the afternoon, allowing an early finish to proceedings.

Root admitted it was "disappointing" that the conditions did not allow for an intriguing contest to play out, as well as suggesting a move to start play earlier in England to make up issues with the light.

"We were really excited about this week, a new challenge for us, and it's disappointing not to get in as much cricket as we'd have liked - but nice to be stood here still 1-0 up in the series," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"Potentially, in England, we may be able to start half an hour earlier - if we lose time - I think you want to protect the crux of Test cricket as much as you can, in terms of the ball, but it is something to look at it I suppose.

"But I do think it has been a week of strange circumstances. It's not very often that you see bad light play such a part over a five-day game. Everyone has coped with it as best they can."

Zak Crawley's half-century was a highlight of Monday's limited action, the right-handed batsman marking his return to the XI with 54 from 99 balls.

On the performance of Crawley, who replaced the absent Ben Stokes in the team, Root said: "I thought he played excellently today.

"I spoke to the batting group before we started play today about making sure that we were very professional in how we approached this session - and for what is a very young top order, in particular, it was a great experience for us."

Opposite number Azhar was pleased with the way his team fought hard with the bat to post a competitive total in what were bowler-friendly conditions.

The tourists must now win the final match, which gets under way at the same venue on Friday, if they are to draw level, but there were promising signs for their skipper in what little action unfolded at the Rose Bowl.

"It has been frustrating for both teams. The game was set quite nicely, with conditions good for bowling throughout - the total we got, we thought would be very competitive but, unfortunately, the weather was the winner in the end," he said.

"I'm proud of them [the batsmen]. We spoke before the game started that we are taking the challenge of batting first. Whoever went in fought really hard; the England bowling attack is a brilliant attack, with the experience of Broad and Anderson. The guys stuck to the task."

Sam Curran replaced Jofra Archer as one of two changes to England's line-up for the second Test against Pakistan.

With James Anderson's place in the side having all but been confirmed on Wednesday, it was Archer – struggling to replicate the form he showed in 2019 – who made way for Curran.

Ben Stokes was already a guaranteed absentee after he left the squad on Sunday to travel to New Zealand for family reasons, with Zak Crawley replacing the all-rounder.

In Stokes' absence, England captain Joe Root elected to give seamer Curran an opportunity to build on some impressive performances against West Indies while also adding extra depth to England's batting order.

"I think more than anything it was to lengthen our batting, with Ben missing out making sure we had that depth there," Root told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

"Also, Sam's record in England is fantastic and he deserves an opportunity. It gives Jofra a chance to rest up and be fully fit for the next game."

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first in sweltering conditions at the Rose Bowl, though Root believed England's swing bowlers could exploit the humid conditions.

"We would have batted first as well, but it's muggy and we've got a very good swing attack," Root said.

"We're looking forward to exploiting these conditions early and hopefully getting some wickets. Getting the first go at it isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially coming on the back of our bowling at Old Trafford."

There was just one change for Pakistan, with Fawad Alam earning his first Test appearance since 2009.

"He's been scoring lots of runs in first-class cricket. He's been patient for a long time," Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said.

"Seasoned character, seasoned player and waiting for this opportunity for a long time. He has all the potential."

Joe Root believes England's first Test win over Pakistan was exactly the sort of victory they need to build on if they have serious designs on becoming the world's best team.

England had their backs against the wall for much of last week at Old Trafford but made a remarkable recovery to win the series opener after Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler led a successful 277-run chase.

Root's side are now preparing for the second match against Pakistan at Southampton, where they can clinch the series and the captain can claim a seventh Test win in succession.

Yet Root did not feel he performed his duties particularly effectively in Manchester, although the match moved the team in the right direction.

"I didn't think I had a very good game last week, to be honest," he told reporters. "I made a few errors, tactical errors, but that can happen from time to time.

"You're not always going to get it right. I think most importantly, it's very clear for the guys how we're looking to play.

"Those messages are consistent and we're seeing improvement week in, week out. That's a really promising sign for the group, and long may that continue.

"Most importantly, we're looking forward, it's not about me, it's not about how many games we win with me as captain, it's about us getting consistently better over a long period of time, looking towards being the number one side in the world.

"If we can maintain that attitude collectively, winning obviously breeds confidence all the time. And people putting in performances like Jos and Wizz [Woakes] did on that final day will breed confidence in the rest of the guys, too.

"The other players, young batters in the team, looking at those two getting the job done, will think, 'I want that to be me next time, I want to be the one stood there at the end having won the game when the heat was on'.

"The more and more we can keep performing like that and keep winning, the quicker I think our development as a side will move forward."

James Anderson is set to keep his place in the England team despite a disappointing performance in the first Test against Pakistan last week.

England head to Southampton with a 1-0 lead in the three-match series despite frustration for Anderson at Old Trafford.

The 38-year-old seamer - closing in on 600 Test wickets - returned underwhelming match figures of 1-97 and subsequently fielded questions on whether he was set to retire.

Anderson insisted that was not an option, though, and he has the support of captain Joe Root, who intends to keep faith with England's record Test wicket-taker.

"Jimmy's likely to play," Root told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the second Test, which starts on Thursday. "I can't tell you who else is likely to play.

"The only other player I can guarantee if he's fit and well and doesn't get food poisoning tonight is probably me."

Pressed on Anderson getting an immediate opportunity to bounce back, Root replied: "Wouldn't you give him the opportunity with nearly 600 wickets under his belt?"

The captain, who welcomed "very exciting" Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson to the squad, revealed he had a private conversation with Anderson during the Old Trafford Test.

Having told the veteran to "remember how good a player you are", Root offered a firm defence of his most senior star.

"I think to question Jimmy's ability and his record... do that at your own peril," the skipper said.

"There's a reason he's got so many wickets over such a long period of time. It's because he's a consistent performer. I don't think it'll be long before he's back in the wickets big time.

"It would be very silly for us to write someone like Jimmy off. He's still as dedicated as ever, working very hard at his game, and looking very good in practice.

"I don't think it'll be long before he's got another five-fer next to his name."

He added: "It just shows that even the greats of the game and the greats of English cricket still have those days where it doesn't always come as naturally to you, it doesn't always feel the easiest game in the world.

"You know it can be a struggle sometimes. That's just the way it goes.

"I think with Jimmy, you know it won't be long before he's right back at the top, at the peak of his powers, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing him perform again this week."

Anderson's long-time colleague Stuart Broad had a more prominent role in proceedings with figures of 6-91 in Manchester, yet his send-off of Yasir Shah saw him fined by the match referee, his father Chris.

Root said: "It was disappointing for that to happen. It just shows the frustrations that Test cricket can throw at you sometimes.

"You know how much it means to Stuart, and over the past couple of weeks he's made it clear how much it means for him to play for England and do well. That probably just slightly boiled over.

"I'm sure that was a frosty conversation with his dad at some point last week. But he'll look to move on. He knows he's got to set an example and I can't see that being a major talking point dragging over into this week.

"Ultimately, we want to make sure none of our players are missing games through avoidable incidents like that."

Jofra Archer has warned it is "unrealistic" to expect him to bowl at 90mph every ball as he told critics the only opinions that interest him are those from within the England dressing room. 

There were questions raised about Archer's pace in the first Test against Pakistan, when he struggled to muster the ferocity that typified his entry into the international arena. 

England are expected to keep faith with Archer for the second match in the series, which begins at Southampton's Rose Bowl on Thursday. 

Captain Joe Root has been supportive, predicting England "will continue to see very special things" from Archer as long as he continues to learn from the ups and downs in his career. 

Archer would love to be bowling consistently at an intimidating speed, but he is more concerned with his overall development. 

"I cannot get away from the fact there is always attention towards the pace I am producing," Archer said in his Daily Mail column. 

"From my perspective, I know I can bowl one or two 90mph deliveries a spell even when not everything is clicking, but to do it every ball, everything has to be working perfectly in unison and you have to be in that perfect, competitive mind frame. 

"Not everything comes together all the time. People look back at my debut performance in the Ashes Test at Lord's last year and expect that kind of display everywhere, but it is unrealistic."

Archer appealed for "more appreciation" of the challenges of fast bowling, and England would not want to push him to strain his body if it meant the Sussex paceman taking any physical risks. 

The Barbados-born quick has 38 wickets in 10 Tests since making his debut against Australia in last year's Ashes, and with James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the twilight of their careers, England are hoping Archer proves an enduring and potent presence in their attack. 

"People will judge you how they want and there are a lot of opinions out there. But I am a 25-year-old fast bowler trying to develop my game and the opinions that matter most to me are the ones of my team-mates," Archer said. 

"As long as Joe Root and my England team-mates are fine, I really don't care what other people are thinking." 

He added that "as long as the people in and around this circle are understanding - and it 100 per cent seems like they are - I am very happy and in a good head space". 

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