JOE Root is hoping his best is yet to come as a batsman and captain as England begin a mouthwatering year of Test cricket in Sri Lanka this month.

The Yorkshire star has travelled to the sub-continent for a two-Test series, starting next Thursday.

England then travel immediately to India for four Tests before returning home for a summer series with the same opponents before an Ashes series in Australia at the end of the year.

Sandwiched in between could be a World Test Championship final at Lord’s if things go swimmingly.

Root, who turned 30 on December 30, is likely to play his 100th career Test in the first of four against India next month.

The last of his 17 Test centuries came in New Zealand in November 2019, and he would dearly love number 18 to come immediately.

“I certainly hope so,” said Root, when asked recently if he feels like his best form is ahead of him.

“I’ve been working as hard as ever to make that be the case.

“As a player, you’re always trying to evolve and improve. One thing you’re always going to gain is experience and further knowledge of the game itself and your own individual game, how you manage situations.

“I’ve just got to try to pull all of that together and give myself the best chance to go on and make scores.

“I’m very excited about what we’ve got coming up. It’s a really exciting schedule with some good hard cricket involved in it, and some great opportunities throughout.

“It was quite a frustrating summer where I didn’t quite get going, but I feel my game is in a really good place and that something big is around the corner.

“The next couple of series will be a really good gauge of where we are as a team. And, as captain, you want to lead by example.

“In terms of motivation, there’s plenty there for me to go out and produce some big scores.”

Root made a good start to England’s tour of Sri Lanka yesterday, as he struck 74 not out and put on an unbeaten partnership of 95 in 129 balls with Dan Lawrence in an intra-squad warm-up match in Hambantota.