England’s Joe Root will play his 98th Test as England is set to take on Sri Lanka in Galle from Thursday, having amassed 7,823 runs, including 17 hundreds, at an average of 47.99 across his previous 97 matches.

Although the England captain averaged under 40 in 2019 and did not manage to convert one of his four fifties across eight Tests in 2020 into a century, this therefore left him hungry to improve those stats during a 17-Test year.

England’s two-match series in Sri Lanka would be accompanied by a four-game assignment against India from early February, while a bumper 12 months also includes a home series against India and an Ashes tour to Australia, as Joe Root wants to play a fundamental role in victories for his side.

“I am very aware that in the last year or so of my career I have underperformed to my own standards,Root told Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton ahead the series opener against Sri Lanka.

“That happens from time to time and trying to stay as level as possible is something I think I have got better at – understanding that you can’t always have everything your own way.

“I have not been at my absolute best but I have not been really struggling. It’s just been frustrating that I have not had those really big scores that really contribute to winning games.

“I have pitched in here and there with the odd fifty-plus score but it doesn’t have the same feeling as a batter – you want to be making the big contributions, helping the side get across the line. “That is the driver for me moving forward – to make more hundreds, to make those big, winning scores.

“There is no better feeling than doing well and winning games. Setting it up for your guys to go out there and take 20 wickets or you being there at the end having knocked off a score. “Hopefully there will be a few occasions like that in the next 17 Test matches.”

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