Bess ready to stake England claim on spin-friendly wickets

LONDON: England off-spinner Dom Bess is looking forward to wickets that play to his strengths in Sri Lanka and India over the coming months, though the pitch his side were handed for a practice match on Friday presented a surprise.

Bess looks set to add to his 10 test caps when the two-match series against Sri Lanka starts in Galle on Jan 14, with England likely to play two spinners on a traditionally turning wicket.

It is something he is grateful for with all his previous test appearances coming at home and in seamer-friendly South Africa.

"I haven't played on many wickets that have suited me and while I have really enjoyed that challenge, it's good that now all eyes will be on the spinners," Bess told reporters on Friday.

"My best ball is good enough and will challenge batters, then it is about having the nous of setting the fields to put them under pressure.

"These guys (Sri Lanka) have grown up playing spin and that is why I think it is a great challenge."

Bess was previously part of a spin camp led by former left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and has been going over his notes from conversations with the ex-Sri Lanka captain, who bagged 433 test wickets in 93 matches.

"We spoke a lot about bowling on the sub-continent and I still have the voice notes on my phone. It was about how consistent you can be in one area. It has certainly helped me to prepare mentally," he said.

The team started a two-day intra-squad game on Friday, where it was the seamers who shone on a wicket that looked more English than something from the sub-continent.

"I would be very surprised if we got that type of pitch (in the tests)," Bess said. "It had a bit of grass on it and the seamers were certainly swinging it.

"It was quite clever from the Sri Lankans with whatever they are doing with this pitch.

"But it's also about adapting to the Kookaburra ball and the heat, so it was a really good workout."

England follow the Sri Lanka series with four tests in India. – Reuters