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Root cause of England getting off to a flyer

By David Clough

Joe Root's celebrations spoke volumes after he rubber-stamped his Test return with an unbeaten century to help launch England's new era yesterday.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman leapt high and punched the air after racing through for the three runs which took him to his third hundred at the highest level.

Root did not seek to disguise his feelings afterwards either, as he reflected on his 102 not out and unbroken three-figure partnership with Matt Prior (76no) in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Together they took England to 344 for five on day one of the Investec series after being put in on a green-tinged pitch.

England, so keen to mark a fresh start under returning coach Peter Moores following last winter's Ashes whitewash, had stumbled to 22 for two before Ian Bell (56) first began the recovery.

The experiences of Root and wicketkeeper Prior, both dropped last winter but back here for another opportunity after England's management reshuffle, summed up collective fortunes.

"It's obviously been quite a tough winter, from a team point of view and personally as well," said Root.

"So to come back into the side and score a hundred meant a lot to me," he added.

"The position I came in at was quite a tricky one, and it's very pleasing to go on and get us in a decent position by the end of play.

"At times the Sri Lankans bowled really well at us and made it very hard for us to score," said Root.

"But we're in a really good position now, and Matty again played exceptionally well.

"I hope we can kick on and get somewhere near 400, if not more.

"It's exciting, and I hope this can be a good start to a great summer," added Root.

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