Zak Crawley says England need to return to more positive approach in Sri Lanka

Opener Zak Crawley says England’s batsmen will adopt a positive approach during the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.

The message from within the England camp throughout the tours of New Zealand and South Africa this winter has been one of batting time and wearing down the opposition.

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However, Crawley suggested that Joe Root’s side are anticipating spin-friendly pitches similar to those they encounter on they last visit to Sri Lanka late in 2018 and will attempt to repeat the more adventurous tactics that led them to a 3-0 series whitewash.

“We had a chat about this the other day and said we need to look to be positive and put the bowler under pressure because, especially on turners, there are maybe going to be ones that are too good for you in the end,” he told Sky Sports.

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“It’s not being reckless but England did it brilliantly in the last series out here. I was watching on TV, they were very positive and it is harder for a bowler when someone is coming at him.

“But you never know, if the situation is something different then I don’t think the side would have a problem churning out two-an-over as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if our game-plan was to be positive.”

Having been handed his Test debut in New Zealand, Crawley was brought back into the side in South Africa following an injury to Rory Burns and with the Surrey left-hander still sidelined, Crawley is set to continue at the top of the order, alongside Dom Sibley, in Sri Lanka.

The 22-year-old Kent batsman has not been surprised by the intensity of Test cricket as a result of how much he “hyped it up” in his own head when he was first selected and after scoring a maiden Test fifty in Johannesburg, he is hunting a first hundred to prove his worth at the highest level.

“I feel like I belong off the field, the lads have been brilliant,” Crawley added. “But I still feel like I’ve got a lot to prove to belong on the field so hopefully I can do that on this tour… if I can get a nice three-figure score that will help me settle down more than I am now.

“We all want hundreds every time we play but, personally, I know that if I get ahead of myself when I’m batting then I get out very soon after and I’m sitting up there un-padding, thinking ‘why didn’t you just stay in the moment?'”

With the emergence of Crawley, Sibley and Ollie Pope over the past few months, there is optimism among England fans that after years of inconsistency, the team might finally be building a top-order that can be relied upon.

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It is still relatively early days for them all but add in Burns and the more experienced Joe Denly and that is five batsmen to make the step up from county cricket in the past two years but Crawley still believes more needs to be done to give county players the best chance of succeeding in Test cricket.

“I think it is very different cricket, if I’m honest,” Crawley said of the county game. “It is a lot more attritional. I think the only way you can do it is by using a ball that doesn’t do as much, which sounds like a biased batsman’s point of view.

“The bowlers have to find different ways of getting people out and the batters have to learn, it is an art batting long periods of time. Australians grow up and play [Sheffield] Shield cricket, scoring big hundreds and it is no surprise that when they get in, they’re good at cashing in.

“That’s something Australians have always been good at and I think that is maybe because of their upbringing.

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