Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad have been drafted into England’s XI for the third and final Test of the series against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Friday.
Broad will replace Jimmy Anderson, who is being rested, while Bairstow comes in for Sam Curran, who has a minor side complaint.
Broad, 32, has missed out on a place in the side in the first two Tests but will play in the match starting on Friday at the SSC – the same ground where he made his debut in 2007.
“I understand the reasoning behind it with the series already won,” Anderson said.
“With the winter we’ve got ahead, it makes sense for Stuart to get some cricket. He’s not played for a while and it’s going to be a tough tour of the West Indies.
“It’s a good opportunity for him and the team. You have to look at the situation as well – it’s hard work for seamers here and it’s not like I’ve been able to have a huge input on the games.”
Trevor Bayliss and Root were no doubt looking for the first opportunity to get Bairstow back in the team after his injury and Ben Foakes’ success led to his surprise omission, and Curran’s minor injury provided the premise. It results in an even lengthier batting line-up for the tourists and while they lose a bowling option, they have reasoned that it is a small loss after all 19 wickets taken by bowlers in Kandy were from spin.
England head to Colombo looking to complete a 3-0 series whitewash.
England XI for 1st Test
Burns, Jennings, Bairstow, Root (c), Stokes, Buttler, Ali, Foakes (w), Rashid, Leach, Broad