England are eager to extend their solid form in test cricket but face a tough challenge in their two-match series in Sri Lanka, coach Chris Silverwood said on Sunday.
England won a three-test home series against West Indies in July last year after returning from the Covid-19-enforced break and followed it up with another series win over Pakistan.
Silverwood’s side are due to play two tests in Galle, starting from Thursday, followed by four tests in India. England have won two of their last five test series in Sri Lanka, most recently a 3-0 victory in 2018.
“It’s very exciting and not just me, the players are feeling it as well… But we have got to win the two test matches here and go to India and continue the progression,” Silverwood told reporters.
“The important thing for me is the continuation of the progression that we have shown… our test team is getting better. If we continue doing that, we should be successful.
“It’s difficult to win here (in Sri Lanka). We have respect for Sri Lanka, (they) are a very good side in conditions. Do I believe we can win? I always believe our team can beat anyone but it’s about the process for me.
“The continual progression of the team, their skills, how they play together, building the side and continuing from where we got going.”
Spinner Moeen Ali will miss the first test because he is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19. Fast bowler Chris Woakes, who had been in close contact with Moeen but tested negative, will undergo a late fitness test.