Joe Root calls on team-mates to impress as new era Alastair Cook begins

Joe Root calls on team-mates to impress as new era Alastair Cook begins

Joe Root has called on England's new-look top order to 'do something special' as his team prepare for life without Alastair Cook.

Tuesday's first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle wants to be the first England have played without Cook, who retired in September, since March 2006. The only member of the squad who has ever played a test Jimmy Anderson, at Mumbai that month.

But instead of lamenting the absence of England's all-time leading runner, who memorably signed off against India at The Oval with scores of 71 and 147, Roots laid down a mark for a new era – one in which Surrey's Rory Burns is set for a Open the batting with Keaton Jennings.

Joe Root has called on his players to stand up in the absence of Alastair Cook

Joe Root has called on his players to stand up in the absence of Alastair Cook

Joe Root has called on his players to stand up in the absence of Alastair Cook

Cook retired in September and face their first test without him since March 2006

Cook retired in September and face their first test without him since March 2006

Cook retired in September and face their first test without him since March 2006

Asked whether Cook had been in a good mood to win as far as England was concerned about trying to end a winless streak of 13 tests away from home, Root replied: 'He has not yet. He's probably not having to worry about anything.

'It's a big loss in terms of experience, but it's a great opportunity for someone to make that their own. Of course we'll miss him, but it's a chance to stand up and do something special for England. '

A day out from the start of this three-test series, 'something special' is likely to involve a snorkel and flippers. The whole of the Galle outfield is under an afterthought, and the forecast for the rest of the week is not encouraging.

Ben Stokes throws the ball as England prepare for their opening test in Sri Lanka this week

Ben Stokes throws the ball as England prepare for their opening test in Sri Lanka this week

Ben Stokes throws the ball as England prepare for their opening test in Sri Lanka this week

Sri Lanka plan to send slow left-poor Rangana Herath into retirement with one final haul

Sri Lanka plan to send slow left-poor Rangana Herath into retirement with one final haul

Sri Lanka plan to send slow left-poor Rangana Herath into retirement with one final haul

But games can move quickly here. There have only been one draw in the past 14 trials here, with Sri Lanka winning nine of those games on a pitch that has always been favored spin.

The hosts' plan is to send slow left-poor Rangana Herath into retirement with a final haul of wickets to add to the 430 he has already taken in a career stretching back to 1999. Two home tests against England have brought him three six-wicket hauls, including 12 in the match here at Galle six years ago.

'We have to make it sure,' said Root. He's had a fantastic career over 19 years and he's a brilliant competitor. But we've got to play the situation and not look at it. "

Root (center) has laid down a marker for a new era to begin without opening the batting

Root (center) has laid down a marker for a new era to begin without opening the batting

Root (center) has laid down a marker for a new era to begin without opening the batting

Surrey's Rory Burns is ready for a test debut and will likely open the batting with Keaton Jennings

Surrey's Rory Burns is ready for a test debut and will likely open the batting with Keaton Jennings

Surrey's Rory Burns is ready for a test debut and will likely open the batting with Keaton Jennings

Joe Butler, Moeen Ali or even Jos Buttler. Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes may well join his Surrey team-mate Burns in winning his first Test cap.

But Root was adamant that England's team of Sri Lankan test series win in Sri Lanka since Nasser Hussain's team came from behind to win 2-1 in 2000-01.

'There's no excuse for feeling undercooked,' he said. 'We have become the most adaptable and we have to make the most of the opportunities we have.'

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