Joe Root wants his England bowlers to stay patient and let the wicket do the work after meeting a spirited Sri Lanka fightback on day three of the first Test on Saturday.
Captain Root starred with the bat as he scored 228 to lead England to 421 in their first innings, but Sri Lanka showed determination and grit to close the day on 156 for two in their second innings, though they still trail by 130 runs.
The tourists failed to get enough balls in the right areas to trouble the batsmen on Saturday, especially spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach, on what is a wicket already taking prodigious turn.
“Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and get some early wickets and make inroads, and drive home this advantage we have built up,” Root told reporters, before admitting his bowlers did not put the batsmen under enough pressure.
“When you come and play at this ground, things can change quickly, and it is always difficult to start your innings as a batsman. We need to harness that and think about it when you are at the end of your mark (and ready to bowl).
“If you get it in the right spot and fortune is on your side, it will happen for you. We have to work harder and stay patient.
Root was delighted to score a fourth career double-ton. The last time he reached three figures was in November 2019 against New Zealand, when he went on to rack up 226.
Last year was the first calendar year in his career without a test century.
“I have tried to get a bit more rhythm into my batting, using triggers and things I can do when the bowler is at the top of his mark,” he said.
“We have some fantastic (batting) coaches with the likes of Jacques Kallis, Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe, and I am speaking to them on a regular basis.
“I set myself high standards, and I expect a lot from myself. It is a good start to 2021, but it won’t mean half as much if we don’t get a result from this game.”