Joe Root has challenged England’s Test players to think outside the box in a bid to overturn their horrendous away form.
England take on Sri Lanka next month, having achieved just one series victory in their last nine tours and gone winless in 13 matches stretching back to October 2016, when they beat Bangladesh by 22 runs in Chittagong, where conditions meant both teams opened the bowling with spinners.
That is something Root says his attack have to be prepared to reprise when the three-match series begins on November 6 in Galle, given Sri Lanka’s tactics at home.
Joe Root told Sportsmail he wants England's players to think outside the box against Sri Lanka
‘It’s something for the guys to start thinking about right now,’ said Root. ‘They should be aware that bowling with the new ball might be a serious option for me. I’d like to think the guys are thinking ahead like that and are clever enough to do it.
‘More than anything, it is getting your mind right for it and being open to it as a serious consideration and a strong option.’
Somerset slow left-armer Jack Leach is accustomed to such practice at Taunton and Moeen Ali was one of those who opened in Bangladesh two years ago.
‘We have to be smart about what formula we use and how we go about things; how we look to break Sri Lanka down on that surface and how we look to attack them with the bat as well — to make more runs than them consistently and take 20 wickets,’ added Root.
Root spoke to Sportsmail's Richard Gibson as he called for England to improve their away form
England finished the summer against India with what Root concedes was a ‘peculiar’ line-up given the presence of so many all-rounders. However, he attributes three of the wins in the 4-1 series victory to the depth across batting and bowling.
‘You saw in the last Test, Adil (Rashid) hardly played an integral part throughout the whole series, but the fact we had that luxury in the locker was vital in winning that game. He turned that Test on its head,’ the England