Graham Thorpe on England's 2001 Test series win in Sri Lanka and how to play spin on the subcontinent
Last Updated: 05/11/18 2:18pm
England's batsmen must trust their instincts and even "create some chaos" to avoid being humbled by Sri Lanka's spinners, says Graham Thorpe.
The tourists will start a three-Test series on Tuesday on pitches that are expected to turn from ball one and batting coach Thorpe says England's players must approach the challenge with "real clarity".
The 49-year-old was a pivotal player in the last England side to win a Test series in Sri Lanka in 2001, scoring a century and an unbeaten 32 in the third Test in Colombo as the visitors secured a come-from-behind 2-1 success.
Speaking to Sky Sports Cricket during a batting demo, which you can watch by clicking on the video above, Thorpe said England have prepared thoroughly in the hope of tackling whatever tactics Sri Lanka's bowlers come up with.
"Ahead of any series you're thinking 'what's ahead of us? What might their attack be and how do we prepare?'" reflected Thorpe.
"The most important thing is making sure that you've covered those bases, so the conversations have been going on about 'try to practice, over-train, work out your options, have real clarity about your game and don't be surprised when the ball starts to turn and bounce'.
"Ultimately it's finding a way and the best way to do that is to explore it in the nets, make it as hard as you can for yourself in the nets and you have to trust your instincts as well when you're out in the middle.
"Sometimes that might be a bit of patience because you're in. Sometimes it might be 'can you create some chaos?' as well. So it's about really having that balance.
"It will be a fascinating series and a really challenging one, which we encountered when we came here back then. It's not easy for English teams to win in the sub-continent - you need everything to come together."
Watch SL v Eng on Sky Sports Cricket
Don't miss a ball as England bid to add Test success to their ODI and T20 victories.
Click on the video above to hear more from Thorpe, including…
- His recollections of England's last victory in a Test series in Sri Lanka - including a very dodgy catch!
- How the challenge of batting against spin has changed since the introduction of DRS and the importance of footwork and manipulating the field
- His tips for technical batting drills that will help you to pick length and transfer weight with economy of movement, plus the key to playing the sweep shot
Watch the first Test between England and Sri Lanka live on Sky Sports Cricket on Tuesday, from 4am.
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