Sri Lanka v England: Joe Root says Pallekele hundred could be his best

Joe Root and Ben Foakes
Joe Root notched his 15th Test century and his first as captain away from home in Pallekele

England captain Joe Root says his 124 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele could be the best of his 15 Test centuries.

Root reached three figures on the third day of the second Test as his side made it to 324-9 at stumps - a lead of 278 over the hosts on a tricky surface.

The 27-year-old's knock is the highest by an England captain in Sri Lanka.

"You have to enjoy good days because there are plenty when it doesn't go your way," Root, whose side lead 1-0 in the three-match series, told BBC Sport.

Asked if he felt the century was his best, Root said: "It's hard to compare but it definitely feels like that at the moment.

"On a surface like that, where at times you can feel very vulnerable, it was very enjoyable."

The ton is Root's first away from home since replacing Alastair Cook as Test captain in February 2017.

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'Trust your own game'

After a frenetic start, Root played a bold innings, taking on the Sri Lanka spinners on a pitch that offered variable bounce.

He was well supported by the middle order, putting on 74 with Jos Buttler and 82 with wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.

"The strong message to the group going into today was 'trust your own game'. If you want to take positive options, then go and do it," Root said.

"The really pleasing thing is guys are really clear about where they want to score their runs and they weren't afraid to go and maybe take some unconventional shots on to do it."

Root's side are searching for a first overseas Test series victory since 2016, and their first series win in Sri Lanka for 17 years.

Play was curtailed early by lightning and heavy rain, with the match set to begin early at 04:15 GMT on Saturday.

"It'll be interesting to see how the pitch plays with this amount of rain tonight," Root added.

"You don't know how it will change the surface."

'Get that innings on DVD' - analysis

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan on The Cricket Social:

What an innings that is from Joe Root. He played spin positively for over four hours of batting, with great foot movement, sweeps, creating angles.

If I was a coach, I would be getting that on a DVD and showing kids the way to play spin on a spinning wicket.

Root is easily up there with England's top five ever in terms of being watchable.


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