England on track to be the world's best in Tests - Root

Jonny Bairstow has the opportunity to make the number three spot his own and help England become the world's best, says Joe Root.

Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow in Test action for England   -  Getty Images

Joe Root has defended the repeated tinkering of England's batting order and believes his side is "on track" to become the world's best team in Test cricket.

Jonny Bairstow will bat at three against Sri Lanka in the third and final Test of the series, making him the fifth man to fill the position for England in the last five matches.

And while England have delivered results of late in the game's longest format, beating India and now Sri Lanka, Root is hopeful Bairstow can improve on those who have gone before him and become a long-term fixture in his new role.

"In terms of having a settled batting line-up, especially a top six, it would be ideal to get that settled down," Root said. "But if we're not in that place and not in that position, we've got to keep playing to our strengths.

"We're not the finished article, we're still learning and still improving, but we're going in the right direction and sometimes you have to tinker with things to get to where you want eventually.

"From the start, we tried to plan out how to get to number one over a period of time and we're pretty much on track to where we want to get to."

On Bairstow, the England captain added: "I think it's a really good opportunity for Jonny to take his batting to another level. 

"In the last couple of years, he's been statistically one of the top 10 batters in the world in Test cricket.

"It would be nice to see him really grab number three by the scruff of the neck and use it as an opportunity to start really consistently scoring big runs in this format. You'd like to think he's got everything there to make number three a long-term option for him."

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