England name unchanged squad for three-match Test series against West Indies

10 Dec

England have named an unchanged Test squad for next month’s tour of the West Indies.

The selectors have kept faith with the 16 men who delivered a historic 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka, meaning the uncapped Joe Denly keeps his place and Ollie Pope misses out.

England have gone with the same formula that thrived in Sri Lanka

Denly was not required during the 3-0 win but will once again travel as batting cover for the three Tests, ahead of Pope and his overlooked county colleague Jason Roy.

Rory Burns and Ben Foakes, both of whom impressed on their Test bows in Sri Lanka, retain their place for the winter tour.

Ben Foakes was awarded Man of the Series against Sri Lanka

Wicketkeeper Foakes was a late addition in Sri Lanka after an injury to Jonny Bairstow and deservedly takes his place as a first-choice pick after collecting man-of-the-series honours at the first time of asking.

Tom Curran and David Willey return to the one-day squad for the five-match series as the countdown to next year’s World Cup continues.

England's tour of the West Indies

15-16 January: warm-up match vs WI Board XI, Barbados

17-18 January: warm-up match vs WI Board XI, Barbados

23-27 January: 1st Test, Kensington Oval, Barbados

31 January-4 February: 2nd Test, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua

9-13 February: 3rd Test, Sarren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia

17 February: ODI warm-up match vs Vice Chancellor’s XI, Barbados

20 February: 1st ODI, Kensington Oval, Barbados

22 February: 2nd ODI, Kensington Oval, Barbados

25 February: 3rd ODI, National Stadium, Grenada

27 February: 4th ODI, National Stadium, Grenada

2 March: 5th ODI, Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia

5 March: 1st T20, Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia

8 March: 2nd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis

10 March: 3rd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis

Mark Wood is included ahead of Olly Stone, who made his bow in Sri Lanka, while Sam Curran and Liam Dawsom are also left out.

The victory in Sri Lanka was England’s first overseas whitewash since 1963, and success in the Caribbean would be a similarly rare feat.

Ollie Pope has been left out

England have won just one Test series in the West Indies since 1968 – in 2004 when Michael Vaughan was captain.

The first Test against the West Indies begins on January 23 and you can listen to all the action from the entire series live on talkSPORT

Jos Buttler insists he has no problem with Ben Foakes keeping wicket for England: ‘I’m just happy to be in the team’

12 Nov

Jos Buttler insists he is just happy to be playing Test cricket despite being replaced as back-up wicket-keeper by the impressive Ben Foakes.

In the absence of the injured Jonny Bairstow, Foakes donned the gloves instead of England’s original number-two Buttler for the first Test in Sri Lanka.

Ben Foakes debuted behind the stumps in Galle instead of Jos Buttler

And Foakes, widely regarded as the best wicket-keeper in the country, seized his opportunity by hitting a debut century in the first innings as the tourists cruised to a 211-run win in Galle

With so much time spent stood up to the stumps on the dry Sri Lankan surface, Buttler was selected as a batsman only, but the 28-year-old has no complaints.

He said: “[I’m] not too bothered, really. Of course, knowing that Ben Foakes was coming over, he’s a fantastic wicket-keeper, he’s been on the last winter tours as the back-up keeper.

“I wasn’t too disappointed with that. I haven’t been wicket-keeping since I’ve come back into the Test side.

“But on a personal level, it’s probably just a reminder of the level I need to get to if I am going to be the number-two wicket-keeper and also just for me looking at my game as a whole.

“It’s just a good reminder that someone like Foakes, who is a fantastic wicket-keeper and probably rightly talked about as the best gloveman in the country, he’s the level that myself and other players around the country need to aspire to get to.”

Buttler was controversially recalled to England’s Test side in the summer, with many writing him off as a white-ball specialist unable to adapt to the game’s longer format.

However, his inclusion has proved a masterstroke, and he admits his rapid rise to Test stardom has taken him by surprise.

“I’m just happy to be in the team,” Buttler added. “A very short while ago, Test cricket was a mile away for me.

“So I’m just delighted to be in the team and I’m really enjoying the role I’ve got in the side at the moment.”

The second Test against Sri Lanka gets underway in Pallekele on Wednesday and you can listen to exclusive radio commentary live on talkSPORT

Sri Lanka vs England first Test, day two: Tourists in control after dream day for debutant Ben Foakes

7 Nov

Ben Foakes’ dream debut and a ruthless display of spin bowling put England in full control on day two of the second Test in Galle.

The tourists batted at the start and the end of the day – all out for 342 then 38 without loss at stumps – and in between rolled Sri Lanka over for 203 in just 68 overs.

Ben Foakes celebrates his maiden century for England

With a lead of 177 and three days to go, a first English victory at this famed Sri Lankan stronghold is well within sight.

Foakes started the day by putting the finishing touches to a classy maiden century and was last man out for 107 after adding 20 his overnight score.

He then gave a taste of the wicketkeeping skills which earned him his call-up in the first-place.

Dimuth Karunaratne allowed the Surrey man to open his international account after just two balls in the field, feeling for James Anderson’s outswinger, and later he produced a highly accomplished stumping to break Sri Lanka’s best partnership of the day.

There was one more chance to impress and he duly took it, pouching a thick edge safely standing up to the stumps in the midst of a Sri Lankan collapse which saw them cough up a potentially match-defining first-innings deficit.

Foakes impressed with the bat and the gloves on day two in Galle

There is a potentially ticklish dilemma coming for the selectors, with Foakes giving every impression of being undroppable and previous incumbent Jonny Bairstow recovering fast from his ankle injury.

To focus solely on Foakes’ contributions would be to do a major disservice to the England attack, though, and particularly their trio of tweakers.

Sri Lanka are used to bundling visiting teams out with spin in Galle but here they were the prey, losing eight wickets to the turning ball. Moeen Ali led the way with four for 66 while Adil Rashid and Jack Leach took two apiece.

With Anderson and Sam Curran removing one opener each with the fleeting swing offered by the new ball, things were going close to plan in the field.

All that was needed to put a ribbon on the day was for Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns, fit after a blow to the back of the neck fielding at short leg, to negotiate 12 overs before stumps and they did so with minimal fuss.

Jimmy Anderson celebrates after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka batsman Dimuth Karunaratne

Play began with England 321 for eight and several thousand sets of fingers crossed that Leach and Anderson could linger long enough to see Foakes from 87 to 100.

He promptly stroked the first ball of the day for four and was five short of his landmark when Leach nicked Dilruwan Perera to slip. A nervy moment, perhaps, but one Foakes banished with two more boundaries, pulling Suranga Lakmal to fine leg then punching back down the ground to celebrate in style.

He was gone moments later but had already inked his name into the record books as England’s 20th debut centurion and just the second wicketkeeper, following Matt Prior in 2007.

The Sri Lanka innings was topped and tailed with a cluster of wickets, 42 for four in 19 overs before lunch and 67 for five in the 19 overs after tea.

England celebrate after the dismissal of Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal

What happened in the afternoon session was a cool-headed aberration as both Dinesh Chandimal (33) and Angelo Mathews (52) knuckled down. Only Foakes’ stumping of the former prevented England going wicketless for two hours.

Either side they batted raggedly. Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva both failed to see the shine off the ball, after which it was spin all the way.

Leach’s nagging discipline earned him the scalps of Kusal Mendis and Perera, while Rashid was used more sparingly on his way to two for 30.

Moeen reaped the biggest rewards, though, bowling Dhananjaya de Silva on the sweep and getting the key scalp of Mathews with the first ball after tea.

By now in a groove, he tempted Niroshan Dickwella and Akila Dananjaya to give up catches in successive overs.