England take on Sri Lanka in the First Investec Test match of the English summer at Headingley on Thursday. This is a series preview of this much-anticipated encounter, which comments on the players to look out for and the likely line-ups of both sides.
Young guns James Vince and Jake Ball have been welcomed into the England fold, while Alex Hales and Nick Compton retain their places in the top-order. Jonny Bairstow continues to be preferred to Jos Buttler in the longest format after a strong start to the English season.
Vince, who was selected ahead of seasoned middle-order-man Ian Bell, is expected to replace James Taylor, who had to prematurely retire at the age of 26 after discovering he had a serious heart condition.
Ball may have to wait for his chance, with Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Steven Finn expected to form a formidable pace attack, supported by Moeen Ali’s tweakers. It is a team that has great balance, owed largely to Ben Stokes’ ability to bat at six as well as offering prowess with the ball – not to mention his dynamism in the field.
It is perhaps Hales and Compton who enter the series under the most pressure, with the likes of Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Adam Lyth and Jason Roy breathing down their necks, with Cook still looking for an ideal partner as well as a replacement for Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott at first drop.
The spotlight will also fall on Bairstow when he has the gloves on, with many people preferring the glovework of Buttler.
However, as it’s just a three-match affair, England are unlikely to do too much tweaking mid-series, unless they enter the final game 2-0 down and fancy a look at some fringe players.
With Sri Lanka faced with the daunting task of replacing the titanic figures of Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardene, this is a team in transition.
Angelo Mathews leads a youthful squad, which is expected to have Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva opening the batting, with exciting prospect Kusal Mendis at first drop. The latter has experience in English conditions after his spell in English club cricket last season.
Dinesh Chandimal and Mathews add a bit of experience to the middle-order, who will be followed by the aggressive all-rounder Dasun Shanaka at seven, fresh from his century against Leicestershire.
Rangana Herath, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera and Shaminda Eranga are likely to form Sri Lanka’s bowling attack. Despite English wickets not being as spin-friendly as home soil, Sri Lanka’s seasoned slow-left-armer Herath will have to be on top form if Sri Lanka are to cause an upset.
England & Sri Lanka Test Squads:
England squad for first Test: Alastair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Nick Compton, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Vince.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal (vice-capt, wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Angelo Mathews (capt), Kusal Mendis (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad, Dasun Shanaka, Kaushal Silva (wk), Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne.
England vs Sri Lanka: Cricket Bats To Look Out For:
Alastair Cook and Jonny Bairstow’s Gray-Nicolls Players Cricket Bat embodies 160 years’ of history and heritage.
Big Ben’s Blade of Glory, the New Balance DC 1080 Cricket Bat, has been flying off the shelves since his incredible knock of 258 versus South Africa, and will continue to prove a popular profile throughout the summer. Akin to the man himself, this bat is built to dominate.
England vs. Sri Lanka Fixtures
Thursday 19th May 2016
Venue: Headingley Carnegie
Friday 27th May 2016
Venue: Emirates Riverside
Thursday 9th June 2016
Limited overs fixtures:
Tuesday 21st June 2016
Venue: Trent Bridge
Friday 24th June 2016
Sunday 26th June 2016
Wednesday 29th June 2016
Venue: The Kia Oval
Saturday 2nd July 2016
Venue: The SWALEC Stadium
Tuesday 5th July 2016
Venue: The Ageas Bowl
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