Win or bust time for England, says Joe Root

Sheffield's Joe Root
Sheffield's Joe Root

Joe Root is confident England are prepared for their win-or-bust encounter with Sri Lanka in Delhi.

The West Indies' win over South Africa on Friday evening was good news for England, reducing the task at hand to its simplest form: victory and a semi-final spot or otherwise, an early flight home.

But Root insists the Three Lions have been in the same situation ever since their campaign opened with defeat to the Windies.

If the stakes are high on this occasion, they are no more so than against South Africa and Afghanistan - both games England won to keep their hopes alive.

"There is always pressure to perform. We know it's a must-win game but it's been like that since we got here," Root said.

"Winning our game is all we can worry about because that's the only way we're going to be able to qualify.

"It's T20. It's a complete knock-out from here on in if we want to win it. The pressure is no more than it has been since that second game. It's all about getting over the line."

To achieve that, England know they must improve on Wednesday's display against Afghanistan.

Although a humbling defeat was averted, the Afghan spinners made short work of England's top six, leaving serious questions over their reading of conditions.

Sri Lanka have a strong spin line-up of their own to unleash at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, led by the venerable left-armer Rangana Herath, and Root knows the trial by turn is one his side must combat better.

"It's about learning from the mistakes we made last time in case we are on a similar pitch and face a similar attack with a lot of spin," he said.

"Everyone has their own way of playing spin, there's no right or wrong way, but for me it's about trying to face as few dot balls as possible and trying to cash in with the boundaries when they are available."

Alex Hales missed out against Afghanistan with a sore back but returned to training on Friday, even taking part in the traditional football match before nets.

That bodes well for his likely involvement, at the expense of James Vince, but the opener will face a fitness test in the morning.

"He has improved," said Root of Hales.

"It is going to be important making sure he is absolutely ready. If not, we have a strong squad and I am sure someone will fill in for him."