Foakes, Jennings recalled for Sri Lanka’s Test tour
London, UK - England have recalled Ben Foakes and Keaton Jennings for next month's Test tour of Sri Lanka, with Jonny Bairstow omitted from the party that went to South Africa. Moeen Ali remains unavailable for Test selection, while James Anderson has been left at home to continue his rehabilitation from a rib injury ahead of the English summer.
Also missing from the 16-man squad were the injured Jofra Archer and Rory Burns, but England have included Mark Wood and Stuart Broad, despite some expectations the latter could be rested. Jack Leach is fit to assume the mantle of senior spinner, having left the South
Africa tour early due to sickness, and he will be joined by Dom Bess and Matt Parkinson in conditions where slow-bowling will be key.
Foakes was player of the series as England won 3-0 in Sri Lanka two years ago, but lost his place as wicketkeeper on the subsequent tour of the Caribbean. He is considered one of the best glovemen in the world - as well as making a century on debut in Galle, he did not concede a single bye. However, it is understood that he will travel initially as back-up to Jos Buttler, the current incumbent.
Bairstow, who was dropped for the New Zealand tour, then returned in South Africa and played in the first Test after Ollie Pope was struck down by the sickness bug that ran through England during the build-up, has been given the opportunity to rest, according to Ed Smith, the ECB's national selector.
The return of Jennings, who also made a hundred in Galle, was signposted last year when he was sent on an England training camp to Mumbai.
He has an excellent record against spin, averaging 44.44 on the subcontinent, and also impressed by taking a number of catches at short leg on the previous Sri Lanka tour.
His last appearance came in St Lucia a year ago, since when his highest first-class score is 97 for Lancashire.
Root's side will head out in early March for two warm-up games before Tests in Galle and Colombo, with 120 World Test Championship (WTC) points at stake.
England squad: Joe Root (capt), Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.