England have announced their 16-man squad for the upcoming Test series in Sri Lanka, with Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings and Jack Leach the notable additions.
The Three Lions’ two-match series against Sri Lanka begins in Galle on the 19th of March, with the second Test at Colombo starting on the 27th.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Foakes and top-order batsman Jennings have been recalled to the Test squad for the first time in 12 months, while Somerset left-arm spinner Leach returns after missing the South Africa tour due to illness.
The trio will likely have fond memories of Sri Lanka after playing key roles in England’s 3-0 Test series victory there in 2018.
Jimmy Anderson, Moeen Ali, and Jonny Bairstow have not been included in the squad.
Jofra Archer was ruled out of the tour last week after a scan revealed a low grade stress fracture in his elbow.
Missed our piece on the 3 England that will be looking to impress in the T20 series? Check it out here.
Chris Silverwood’s side will likely be high on confidence after their 3-1 series win in South Africa and will be determined to claim another series victory as they look to close the gap at the top of the ICC World Test Championship.
Joe Root’s men are third in the standings at the moment but will have their eyes firmly set on catching the top two, Australia and India, to ensure they can qualify for the final of the competition next June.
National selector Ed Smith indicated that they had backed “continuity after a successful series victory in South Africa”.
He added: “The South Africa tour marked the emergence of a very exciting group of young players, creating a nice balance with an experienced core of senior players.
“That squad is mostly retained, with some tweaks to the squad relevant to injury, rest and the challenges of playing in sub-continent conditions.
“Somerset spinner Jack Leach has recovered from his illness he picked up in South Africa and is now healthy and keen to resume his Test career.
“Jonny Bairstow has been in England squads across the three formats without a significant break. This two-Test tour presents a good opportunity for Jonny to be rested.
“Jimmy Anderson will continue to work with Lancashire and the ECB so that he is ready for the start of the County Championship season leading into the Test series against the West Indies in June.
“Moeen Ali is still unavailable for Test selection. The selectors are in consistent dialogue with Moeen and he remains a valued player in England cricket.”
Hopefully, England can carry their momentum from the win in South Africa and recreate the success they had in Sri Lanka in 2018.
Everything looks set up for another enthralling series of Test cricket!
Full England squad: Joe Root (c) (Yorkshire), Dominic Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Jack Leach (Somerset), Matt Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dominic Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (vc) (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), and Mark Wood (Durham)