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England set to add Foakes to Test squad as Bairstow cover

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

England are set to call up Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes as cover for the injured Jonny Bairstow.

The 25-year-old, who has previously played domestic cricket in Sri Lanka, is likely to board a plane there if the Yorkshireman fails a fitness Test before the first Test in Galle next month.

Bairstow missed Saturday’s fourth ODI and has been ruled out of tomorrow’s final ODI and Saturday’s one-off T20I after straining his ankle ligaments whilst playing football in a training session last week. He is highly unlikely to be fit for the two-day warm-ups next week.

Jonny Bairstow injured his ankle playing football on Friday

Jos Buttler will take the gloves if Bairstow remains on the sidelines, and while Ollie Pope is a part-time keeping option, England are likely to favour specialist cover in the form of Foakes, who was Bairstow’s understudy in Australia and New Zealand last winter.

Bairstow’s injury will likely see Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales retain his spot at the top of the order for tomorrow’s final ODI.

England are expected to make changes, however, with Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett, Joe Denly – who last played international cricket eight years ago – and Sam Curran all likely to be given the nod.

Rangana Herath will retire after the first Test in Galle

Despite sweating over Bairstow’s fitness, England were buoyed to learn of Rangana Herath’s decision to retire after the first Test in Galle. The most successful left-arm spinner in Test history has 430 scalps from 92 Tests, and is the tenth-highest Test wicket-taker of all time.

Herath’s swansong next month will give the 40-year-old the opportunity to jump up to seventh in the list – ahead of New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee (431), Broad (432) and India’s Kapil Dev (434).

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