England in Sri Lanka: Joe Root & Dan Lawrence find form in warm-up


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Joe Root
Root will lead England in two Tests in Sri Lanka before flying to India for a Test and limited-overs tour
Intra squad warm-up, MRIC Stadium, Hambantota (day one of two)
Team Root 184-2 dec (50 overs): Root 74*, Lawrence 46*, Crawley 46; Crane 1-37, Bess 1-59
Team Buttler 120-6 (38 overs): Pope 58*; Anderson 2-21, Leach 2-27, Robinson 2-15
Team Buttler trail by 64 runs
Scorecard (external site)external-link

Captain Joe Root hit an unbeaten 74 and Dan Lawrence 46 not out in England’s intra-squad warm-up match in Sri Lanka before the Test series.

Root and Lawrence, who could make his debut in next week’s first Test, added 95 off 129 balls before Team Root declared on 184-2 in Hambantota.

Team Buttler struggled in reply as Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow and captain Jos Buttler managed a combined six runs.

They closed on 120-6 from 38 overs, with Ollie Pope unbeaten on 58.

Pope is not in the Test squad or the reserve list as he continues his recovery from shoulder surgery, but is expected to be fit for the tour of India starting next month.

Opener Sibley returned to bat for a second time and was unbeaten 18 alongside Pope. They are set to resume on the final day of the two-day match.

On a surprisingly green pitch, James Anderson was on a hat-trick earlier in the day, having had Bairstow caught behind and bowling Buttler first ball.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who has not played for England for more than a year after illness, took 2-31, removing Dom Bess for three and Ben Foakes for 21.

Zak Crawley, who this week said he expects to open the batting in the Test series, scored 46 for Team Root, with Bess and reserve leg-spinner Mason Crane claiming a wicket apiece.

The first of two Tests in Galle starts on 14 January.

Bess ‘can’t wait’ to play with Leach

Off-spinner Bess said he would be “very surprised” if England were faced with another non-spinning surface in the first Test, rather than the spin-friendly conditions more common in Sri Lanka.

“The seamers were seaming it and nipping it,” he said. “Obviously it is quite clever from the Sri Lankans.

Root is looking quality and Crawley looked really, really good as well.

“Our side got pretty good seeds early on from Robbo (Ollie Robinson) and Jimmy (Anderson). I’d like to think we are in a really good place as a whole.”

Bess said he “can’t wait” to play alongside his former Somerset team-mate Leach if both are selected.

Leach and Bess have each played 10 Tests but never in the same side. They often played in tandem for Somerset until Bess left for Yorkshire at the end of last season.

Bess said the pair joked about playing in the same England team when sharing a room together as part of Somerset’s second XI in 2016.

“I genuinely can’t wait,” Bess said. “We have always had that battle between each other, but to get back on park with him, hopefully, and bowl with him, I will cherish it.

“It has never been awkward. When he got injured and I made my [England] debut it was such a strange situation. I don’t think many people would have gone through that with their very close mate.”

Meanwhile, all-rounder Chris Woakes, who has been in isolation in his hotel room, is expected to travel to Galle on Saturday and join the rest of the squad for training on Sunday or Monday.

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