England v Sri Lanka: Joe Root looks to banish Ashes demons

England v Sri Lanka: Joe Root is hoping to bounce back from a poor Ashes tour after his ton helped the hosts on day one

Joe Root is looking to banish his demons from the disastrous Ashes winter by building on the hundred which helped England to 344-5 on day one of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

The hosts’s first taste of test cricket since the 5-0 defeat in Australia got off to a poor start as they lost three early wickets but Root’s unbeaten 102 helped steady the ship.

We’ve built a good platform now so hopefully me and Matty [Prior] can kick on now and try and get around 400, if not more

Joe Root

With Ian Bell and Matt Prior also notching fifties, Root claimed the squad is in a healthier position and expressed his excitement at returning to the five-day game.

“There’s nothing that beats test cricket in my eyes and the challenge of trying to score runs in the first test of the summer after the winter I’ve had is very pleasing,” Root said.

“I love playing here, especially in the first test of the summer at Lord’s at the atmosphere was fantastic.”

The Yorkshireman also reserved special praise for wicketkeeper Prior, who will start day two on 76 after the pair put on 135 for the fifth wicket.

Root is now looking to post an imposing total and put the game beyond Sri Lanka on a glorious Lords batting wicket.

“We’ve built a good platform now so hopefully me and Matty [Prior] can kick on now and try and get around 400, if not more,” he added.

“I love batting with Matty and its testament to his character and him as a player. You could see from his celebration when he made 50 how much it meant to him.”

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