Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings Back As England Announce Squad For Two-Test Series Against Sri Lanka
Foakes won the first of his five Test caps in Galle in November 2018 where he scored a fine hundred. © Twitter/England Cricket

Ben Foakes and Keaton Jennings return to the England Test squad after a gap of nearly 12 months as the Three Lions announced their squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Lancashire opener Jennings and Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Foakes were discarded after the West Indies tour 12 months ago. However, Jennings’ Test hundreds in his 17 appearances have come on the subcontinent and Foakes was player of the series in England’s 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in November 2018.

Foakes won the first of his five Test caps in Galle in November 2018 where he scored a fine hundred. England’s leading wicket-taker James Anderson remains absent as he recovers from a cracked rib sustained during the recent tour of South Africa.

Jos Buttler, who has been struggling recently, has been given another chance by the selection panel. However, Buttler will have to compete with Foakes for a place in the starting line-up in the two-Test series.

Moeen Ali was England’s joint-leading wicket-taker on their last visit to Sri Lanka but his decision to continue his indefinite break from Test cricket means Jack Leach, Dom Bess and Matt Parkinson will be the frontline spinners.

Yorkshire batsman Jonny Bairstow misses the trip to take a break having been part of the South Africa tour. Joe Denly has been retained despite a modest series in South Africa, where his 210 runs at an average of 30 matches his career average after 14 Tests.

“The selection panel has supported continuity after a successful series victory in South Africa. The South Africa tour marked the emergence of a very exciting group of young players, creating a nice balance with an experienced core of senior players,” national selector Ed Smith said.

“That squad is mostly retained, with some tweaks to the squad relevant to injury, rest and the challenges of playing in sub-continent conditions. Somerset spinner Jack Leach has recovered from his illness he picked up in South Africa and is now healthy and keen to resume his Test career.

“Jonny Bairstow has been in England squads across the three formats without a significant break. This two-Test tour presents a good opportunity for Jonny to be rested.

“Moeen Ali is still unavailable for Test selection. The selectors are in consistent dialogue with Moeen and he remains a valued player in England cricket.”

England squad for the Test series against Sri Lanka starting on March 19: Joe Root (captain), Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Dominic Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood