SL v ENG 2021: Dom Bess eager to stake claim on spin-friendly pitches in upcoming Tests

England off-spinner Dom Bess “can’t wait” to play in the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka, as the youngster is relishing the prospect of bowling on pitches that suit his strengths in the Island nation despite being surprised with the practice pitch at Hambantota on Friday (January 8).

Joe Root-led England team is set for a long sub-continent tour where the pitches usually suit the spinners and Bess is hoping to make the most of his strengths in Sri Lanka and India over the coming months, though it will be his first experience of Asian conditions in the Test arena.

The tourists have started a two-day intra-squad game on Friday on a suspiciously green pitch at Hambantota – where the seamers shone on a wicket that looked more English than the sub-continent, but Bess doesn’t think Sri Lanka will serve such type of pitches in the upcoming Tests.

The upcoming two-match Test series between Sri Lanka and England will start in Galle on January 14 and the tourists are likely to play two spinners on a traditionally turning wicket at the Galle International Stadium and the 23-year-old “can’t wait” to renew his spin-bowling partnership with Jack Leach.

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Bess told reporters after day 1 of the intra-squad game on Friday: “I can’t wait, genuinely can’t wait. You can talk about pressure, but you’re playing international cricket, there’s going to be pressure. I think you’ve got to flip it and say it’s an opportunity you can take.”

He added, “I personally haven’t been on many spinning wickets, or wickets that have suited me, but now the eyes are going to be on the spinners. My best ball is good enough and will challenge batters, then it’s about having the nous with the fields and putting the Sri Lankans under pressure.

These guys (Sri Lanka) have grown up playing spin and that is why I think it is a great challenge. There could be some egos floating around that I can hopefully get stuck into.”

On the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium wicket, the all-rounder said: “I would be very surprised if we got that type of pitch (at Galle). You shouldn’t stress. We’re not. It had a bit of grass on it and the seamers were certainly swinging it. It was quite clever from the Sri Lankans with whatever they are doing with this pitch. But I know myself and, bowling on that, I won’t be thinking too much on the wicket.”

Bess signed off by saying, “It’s also about adapting to the Kookaburra ball and the heat, so it was a really good workout. We spoke a lot about bowling on the sub-continent and I still have the voice notes on my phone. It was about how consistent you can be in one area. It has certainly helped me to prepare mentally.”

(With Reuters Inputs)

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