England v Sri Lanka: Joe Root backs Alex Hales and Nick Compton
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 13/05/16 11:51am
Joe Root has backed Alex Hales and Nick Compton to answer their critics when England take on Sri Lanka next week.
Both batsmen are in a 12-man squad for the first Test at Headingley despite speculation they could miss out in the wake of up-and-down winter performances in South Africa.
Neither scored a hundred during a four-match Test series, with opener Hales averaging just 17 and No 3 Compton under 31.
But the only change to the batting personnel has seen Hampshire captain James Vince come in for James Taylor, whose sudden retirement left a place in the squad up for grabs.
And Root told Sky Sports News HQ: "We see these guys play a lot, we spend a lot of time together as a squad and we know what they're capable of doing.
"I've got every confidence in those guys ahead of me to go in and make big scores. They'll want to prove a lot of people wrong who've been doubting them, and it's a very exciting time for them."
Vince, who is capped at one-day international and T20 level, is likely to make a first Test appearance after a decent start to the County Championship season including a century against Root's Yorkshire.
"James played extremely well against Yorkshire a few weeks ago," Root said. "He's been one of the guys over the past couple of years who have kept proving themselves."
England's other uncapped call-up, Nottinghamshire seam bowler Jake Ball, has also enjoyed success against Yorkshire this season and twice dismissed Root during a Division One game at Trent Bridge.
"He did for me," Root said. "He was far too good for me, and he's a very talented cricketer."
England will face tourists who have had to deal with the retirements of Test greats Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara since they won a two-match series on their last visit in 2014.
But Root said: "It would be silly to be arrogant and think we're going to wipe the floor with them. They have a lot of guys with a lot of talent who could do some special things in Test cricket."
Root's team-mate Stuart Broad added: "There is a bit of revenge to be had.
"I played in the Test matches at the start of 2014 and that was a tough time to play. It was quite an emotional series, it really hurt us as a team to lose in our own conditions.
"We know when we play Sri Lanka they play with a lot of pride and passion. They're always in the battle and they beat us in that battle last time."
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