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England name unchanged XI; Stokes to bat No.3

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

England have named an unchanged side for the second Test against Sri Lanka starting in Pallekele on Wednesday.

Ben Stokes is expected to bat at No.3, with Moeen Ali – who failed twice with the bat in Galle and also got through a high volume of overs with the ball, taking eight wickets – coming in at No. 6 and Jos Buttler at No.5, England have said.

England team for second Sri Lanka Test

Burns, Jennings, Stokes, Root, Buttler, Ali, Foakes, Curran, Rashid, Leach, Anderson.

READ: This data-fuelled argument for why Ben Stokes SHOULD be England’s No.3

Joe Root said: “Having had a good look at the surface today, we feel the side that won the first Test will give us the best opportunity for us to get something out of this Test. The surface is dry and it will spin. The balance of the team is ideal for these conditions. We can also adapt, if the situation dictates, as we showed in Galle.

“Ben’s game is in good shape and he is more than capable of batting at three. We are in a fortunate position that many in the side could bat in that position. Ben’s technique is sound and he will be able to adapt to this role. He is one of the fittest guys in the side, so the intensity of batting in the top order and bowling as one of our three seamers, will not faze him.

“If we feel that he has done a tremendous workload with the ball, then we can adapt and alter the order if it’s necessary, but I don’t expect that to happen. Ben is relishing the added responsibility of doing a job at three.”

“Jonny [Bairstow] was available for selection. Trevor [Bayliss] and I have spoken to him about finding the right balance for this Test with the conditions we are expecting. He understands the situation and is aware that we have to pick the side that are best suited to conditions we can expect in Kandy. It is unfortunate that he missed out through injury in the first Test. He is an integral part of our plans and is a key member of our core squad and his experience around the group is important.”

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