England secured the series victory with a match to spare in Sri Lanka
After winning his first overseas series as England captain, Joe Root now wants his squad to push on and become the No.1 team in the Test cricket rankings.
England beat Sri Lanka by 57 runs in the second Test in Kandy at the weekend to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The third Test against Sri Lanka starts on Friday 23 November at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.
England are currently third behind India and South Africa in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test team rankings. But the BBC reports that whatever the result in Colombo, Root’s side will overtake South Africa and move into second place.
In an interview with Sky Sports Root said: “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.
“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.”
England travel to the West Indies next year for a three-Test series in January and February. They will then face Ireland in a four-day Test match at Lord’s in July before taking on Australia in the 2019 Ashes series next summer.
Vaughan: this is now Root’s team
Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes that the series win in Sri Lanka has finally put Root’s stamp on the England squad.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Vaughan said: “Joe Root’s problem has been the identity of his team. Nobody has looked at the side and thought ‘this is Joe Root’s team’ but that has changed with the series win in Sri Lanka.
“Personally I don’t think the Test team has had an identity for a long time but England have gone to Sri Lanka and done things differently. They identified a method and stuck with it.
“It has been successful and winning, particularly overseas, gives a captain so much more authority. All of a sudden people look at you differently, even senior players who have been around a long time, possibly longer than you have.”