England decide on their wicket-keeper for the second Test in Sri Lanka
Ben Foakes has been anointed as England’s new No.1 wicket-keeper after Joe Root confirmed he will keep the gloves for the second Test.
Foakes has seen off the challenge of Jonny Bairstow for now with the Yorkshireman approaching full fitness and ready to compete for a spot in the side as a batsman only if he passes a fitness Test.
“We’ve come to Sri Lanka to win this tour,” said Root. “And in these conditions, I think Ben is the best option behind the stumps and he is going to keep.
“I think Jonny is still a week or so off being 100 percent, but he’s mad keen to get back out there and play, and what he’s done over the last couple of years has been exceptional.
“Jonny is a fine keeper and he’s pretty much been faultless, not really stood out at all which is probably a good thing for a wicketkeeper.
“Long-term we see him as a focal part of the Test team, but it’s a great opportunity for Ben to show is ability and I think you’ve got to reward a performance like last week.”
Foakes claimed his solitary Test was enough of a reward for his dedication and efforts in trying to become an England cricketer, but he has also been singled out for his inspirational performance and white-ball keeper Jos Buttler has been taking notes.
“Ben is a fantastic gloveman,” said Buttler. “It’s a good reminder and a little wake-up call that he’s the level you need to get to. Just looking personally, he’s a great example to someone like myself as to where I need to get to.”
On arrival at the ground in Kandy, England were taken aback at just how dry the pitch was two days out which suggests much more assistance for the spinners than originally thought, paving the way for a similar looking bowling attack from the first Test.
But if England believe that seam is likely to play even less of a role than in Galle where just 45 overs were sent down all match, they could even bring Bairstow back into the side for James Anderson.
“We need to have another look at the surface and see how we think it’ll play,” added Root. “A lot depends on that. It’s probably a little bit dryer than I anticipated it to be at first look.”
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