Overcoming a shaky start, Root scored 124 off 146 balls and helped England reach 324-9 at stumps, giving them a lead of sizeable lead of 278 runs. He now holds the record for the highest score by an England captain in Sri Lanka, topping the 109 made by Nasser Hussain in Kandy in 2001.
“My Test hundreds are all different but that was a thoroughly enjoyable one and quite challenging on that surface,” Root told Sky Sports. “The most pleasing thing for me was that having asked the guys to play in an aggressive manner in these conditions, you want to set the example and lead from the front. For it to come off was really pleasing.
“I felt a bit all over the place at the start, a bit hectic. I felt quite calm underneath but my legs were flapping on the outside.
“It was about trying to get the bowlers to bowl in the areas you want them to, take a few risks early and get used to the way the surface is playing.
“Once I got to about 20 and got a few boundaries away I felt I was picking length pretty well in terms of sweeping and it made things a lot easier.”
Going into Day four, England are in a strong position to go ahead and win the Test match. Starting the day on 0/0. Rory Burns scored his first Test half-century to ensure that his team got off to a stable start. Ben Foakes scored a half-century too, while Jos Buttler chipped in with a handy 34.
“We kept the board going at a really good rate, especially in the first session, so credit to the guys for playing that way when we had a deficit.” said Root who has now scored two centuries in his last three Tests, after not scoring one in his last fifteen outings.
“The temptation would be to go into your shell but the guys played with freedom and courage while paying respect to the good balls.
“Rory has played with real calmness and looked in control of what he is trying to do - he looks unflappable. I watch him bat and he has everything to go on and have a really strong Test career.”
Root said that he hopes for more patience from his bowlers during Sri Lanka’s second innings.
“We have given ourselves a really good chance and if we bowl well on the surface we will be able to create at least 10 chances,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see if the rain makes the pitch spin a little bit more. It's important we recognise what it's going to be like and adapt quickly.
“We may have over-attacked with some of the fields in the first innings and got a bit giddy when it spun, myself included. We may have to be a bit more patient and try and hit the stumps as much as possible.”
First Published: November 16, 2018, 8:07 PM IST