Root backs Compton to come good at Lord's

England's batsman Nick Compton is under scrutiny after a string of low scores but teammate Joe Root backed the opening batsman to do well in the upcoming Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Nick Compton has registered scores of 0, 9 and 22 not out in the three innings he has played in the Test series so far.   -  Getty Images

Joe Root is well aware of how a hundred at Lord's can affect a career and believes Nick Compton can produce a big score when England face Sri Lanka in the third Test at the 'home of cricket' this week.

Compton, England's number three, will be back on his Middlesex home ground and one where his grandfather Denis, one of England's greatest batsmen, has a stand named after him at the Nursery End, having himself starred for club and country on numerous occasions at Lord's either side of the Second World War.

But it is recent history that is of greater concern to Nick Compton. Prior to England's nine-wicket win in the second Test at Chester-le-Street that gave the host an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Compton acknowledged he was playing for his place. Scores of nine and 22 left Compton with an average a touch above 30 from 15 Tests in which he has scored two hundreds.

Compton's record leaves him vulnerable to being dropped and, at the age of 32, he may not have that many more chances in which to nail down a Test place. Root, several years younger at 25, felt under pressure when he faced Sri Lanka at Lord's in 2014 after being dropped from the climax of England's preceding Ashes whitewash in Australia.

The Yorkshireman responded with a maiden double century and was well aware of the innings' importance in helping launch his ascent into becoming one of the world's leading batsmen.

"It was my first game back in the team ... I almost had a point to prove not just to everyone else but to myself, and show that I can play at this level," said Root, speaking at an event held by Test series sponsors Investec at Lord's on Tuesday.

"If I'd have got two noughts, you don't know how the rest of the summer would have unfolded. It gave me a lot of confidence. I look back at that and think it was a massive stepping stone, proving to myself that I can score big runs."

'Good place to bat'

Root said he saw similarities in the situation Compton found himself in heading into Thursday's match at Lord's. "Traditionally it's a very good place to bat, it's his home ground and he has a point to prove," Root explained. "It would be great to see him put in a match-winning performance - which he's more than capable of doing."

Compton has been criticised for being an excessively intense player who is too wrapped up in his own game to succeed at the highest level.

Similar comments were made about Mark Ramprakash, now England's batting coach, whose career saw him join a select group of batsmen to have scored 100 first-class hundreds - but with only two of those centuries coming in Tests. "I can certainly relate to Nick feeling on edge and know with the increased scrutiny about his position," said Ramprakash at Lord's on Monday.

"I've found him committed, dedicated, focused. He does think about his game deeply, and that's fine - the best players do ... In my mind, I look at him and see a top player who is very capable of getting thousands more international runs. He must still latch on to the bad ball when it comes along. If he does that, he's going to be in good shape."

Root is certainly just that and yet he remains eager for runs with the memory of his 80 in the second Test tainted in his eyes by the half-cock shot that ended with him lobbing a catch to point when a hundred was in his sights.

"It was a car crash, really - it was awful," Root said as he recalled his dismissal. I am contributing quite consistently - but you don't win games with 70s and 80s." But such a score could help prolong Compton's Test career.

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