England captain says ton a case of turning words into deeds

Joe Root described his first Test century in 13 months as a case of turning words into deeds and revealed that self-defeating thoughts about his conversion rate were partly to blame for the three-figures drought.

Root had been stressing the need for his players to be ruthless with the bat at the start of a defining 12-month period but also knew the orders would struggle to cut through unless he himself could break a run of 15 innings without three figures on the board.

Speaking after the close on day two in Galle, with an unbeaten 168 to his name, the newly-turned 30-year-old cut a relieved figure and now hopes his innings of immaculate footwork against Sri Lanka’s spinners is the springboard for a golden run.

Root said: “I’m extremely pleased. I did a lot of talking ahead of this year and I thought it was really important to go out there and do it myself. It felt like a long time coming and I’ve got to build on this, really make it count.

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

“I think the previous couple of hundreds I have got, even though they’re a while ago, have come at the end of a 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 games.”

This was Root’s 18th century from 98 Test caps but with 49 fifties currently sitting alongside that number, the right-hander knows a player of his obvious calibre has left a good few more out in the middle.

Asked if this issue weighed on his mind as he approached the milestone, Root replied: “I tried to get away from it. For the last year, two years, I’ve over-thought it massively. I made too big a deal of it in my own mind. I hyped it up and it’s been to my detriment.

“I’ve always been desperate to try and convert those fifties into big scores. But generally when I get to a hundred I make it really count.”

As well as fulsome praise for Dan Lawrence’s 73 on debut – “he showed exactly why he deserved his opportunity” – Root addressed the latest news of a Covid-19 outbreak after two members of staff at the team hotel tested positive for the virus. (Courtesy The Guardian)