Broad, Anderson still have plenty to offer England - Root

Joe Root believes Stuart Broad and James Anderson will be key members of England's bowling unit for a long time to come.

Stuart Broad bowling in the nets   -  Getty Images

Stuart Broad still has an important role to play in England's Test team despite seeing his chances reduced during the tour of Sri Lanka.

With spin-friendly pitches in the subcontinent England has deployed three spinners and just one specialist seamer, with James Anderson given the nod for the opening two matches.

Broad will take his place for the final clash in Colombo this week and Root was keen to stress the 32-year-old remains a key member of its five-day squad.

"You look at the experience he can bring to the team and his record in English conditions, and what he's capable of there, and he's invaluable," Root said of Broad. 

"He's still one of England's best bowlers - I genuinely believe that - but we've had to be quite cute and smart about exploiting these conditions here and we'll have to do the same later on in the winter in the West Indies.

"I'm very aware how talented the group is and how talented our two senior guys are. We generally get very excited about wishing people into retirement and I think with those two in particular, we have to make the most of them while we can, be smart about managing and see how long they can go for.

"They both look on top of their game at the moment, if you ask me. They're both bowling fantastically well and keep looking to improve and get better. As far as I'm concerned I want to get the most out of them for as long as we can."

The third Test also sees Jonny Bairstow back in the England side and he will be the latest batsman to be tried in the troublesome number three position.

Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali have both had chances at three on this tour, and Root hopes to find a permanent resolution soon.

"We want to have that position nailed down," Root told BBC Sport. "The exciting thing is we've found ways of winning matches without that.

"Over the next few months, if that can be nailed on then we'll see another step in the right direction for this team."

Sri Lanka has drafted Danushka Gunathilaka in for Dinesh Chandimal, while Akila Dananjaya misses out as he has his biomechanics test on his action in Australia.

Lakshan Sandakan is expected to take the spinner's place in Colombo, and stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal knows his bowlers have to perform better to restrict their opponents – particularly the tail.

"We can't be making spinning pitches and keep letting their tail get runs," he said. "We have a plan to stop them.

"We gave the spinners a lot of overs at the tail in the previous games because the pitch suited them. But as a seam bowler, maybe there will be a change in this match."

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