England Recall Jonny Bairstow For Sri Lanka Tests as Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer Rested
A file image of Jonny Bairstow (Credit: IANS)

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday announced a 16-member squad for two-match Test series against Sri Lanka starting from January 14. England will miss the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes who is currently grieving the loss of his father. Stokes Sr, who died at the age of 65, fell ill on England’s tour of South Africa last Christmas. He spent five weeks in a hospital in Johannesburg before returning to New Zealand. Gerard had returned home to Christchurch with his wife Deborah, where he was living at the time of his death.

England’s fast-bowling sensation Jofra Archer is also rested for the series as James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Mark Wood are part of the pace attack for Sri Lanka tour.

However, both Stokes and Archer are expected to be back for the high-octane series against India beginning in February next year.

England team is expected to depart for Sri Lanka on January 2. The visitors will play two Test matches behind closed doors at Galle International Cricket Stadium from January 14-18 and January 22-26.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow also returned to England’s Test set-up after being dropped earlier this year.

Earlier, in August, Bairstow said that A Test recall “is my burning ambition, but the only way I’m going to do that is to score runs, starting in this ODI series,” he told Sky Sports

Essex youngster Dan Lawrence is the only rookie face in the squad and has been included after he garnered the experience of playing 74 first-class games.

England Test Squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Reserves

James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Amar Virdi (Surrey).