England recall Keaton Jennings and Ben Foakes for Sri Lanka tour

England recall Keaton Jennings and Ben Foakes for Sri Lanka tour”

England have recalled Ben Foakes and Keaton Jennings for next month's Test tour of Sri Lanka, with Jonny Bairstow omitted from the party that went to South Africa.

Foakes, who was England's player of the series in Sri Lanka 15 months ago after amassing 277 runs at 69.25, was dropped in the Caribbean past year but is widely regarded as the best pure wicketkeeper-batsman in England and there will be a clamour for him to replace struggling gloveman Buttler.

If the decision to choose Jennings could be termed a "horses for courses" selection then the same could be true of Ben Foakes, who was England's player of the series in Sri Lanka 15 months ago after amassing 277 runs at 69.25.

The Lancashire left-hander will be looking to add to his 17 Test caps and has produced his best displays on the subcontinent, making a century on debut against India in Mumbai in 2016.

Ali's self-imposed absence continues, but Jack Leach has recovered from an illness and the left point guard is one of three frontline players on the team, along with Somerset teammate Dom Bess and Lancashire leggie Matt Parkinson.

"Jonny Bairstow has been in England squads in all three formats without a significant break". "The selection panel has supported continuity after a successful series victory", he said.

"The overwhelming sense at the end of the series in South Africa was to continue with that exciting group of young players and we are also fortunate to have Keaton to supply depth and experience in those conditions".

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"That squad is mainly preserved, with some squad adjustments related to injuries, rest and the challenges of playing in subcontinental conditions". This two-Test tour presents a good opportunity for Jonny to be rested.

The two-match Test series forms part of the ICC World Test Championship.

The first test is in Galle from March 19-23 and the second in Colombo from March 27-31.

Jennings made the last of his 17 Test appearances in the Caribbean after his average dipped to 25.19 but that rises sharply to 44.44 in Asia, with one of his two global hundreds coming in Sri Lanka.

Also expected was the omission of Moeen Ali who is undertstood to have told selectors he does not yet feel ready to return to the Test fold.

While Anderson had put himself up for the tour insisting he was fully recovered from his rib injury selectors were evidently not convinced, particularly given the arduous nature of the pitches they are likely to encounter.

Foakes, like Jennings, was dropped in the Caribbean a year ago, but he is widely regarded as the best pure wicketkeeper-batsman in England and there will be a clamour for him to replace struggling gloveman Jos Buttler.

England squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire) captain, 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), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dominic Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

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