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*Official* England in Sri Lanka 2021

Gremlin

U19 12th Man
The Pope thing really is a bit strange.
It is a bit odd, it was reported that he is not in consideration for selection for the tests as still recovering and is not fielding. So it's a rehab batting workout for him then, I assume.
 

Woodster

International Captain
Yes also confused by the Pope situation, if he’s fit he has to be in our XI. That aside and presuming for fitness reasons he isn’t to be involved then I’m very excited by the prospect of Dan Lawrence’s potential debut and hopefully that it comes batting at number five rather than being plunged straight in that problematic number three spot. Problematic at least up to the point of Zac Crawley making a strong case to retain the spot last summer.

Now we have someone that looks comfortable at three I’d certainly be reluctant to move Crawley, let Bairstow come in and open the batting in the absence of Rory Burns.

Big fan of Foakes but Buttler has to play in the XI following his batting at the end of last summer, which means if Foakes plays he’d bat seven and we’d only manage a specialist four-man attack which might not be ideal in SL conditions. Other option is to leave a batsman out and move Buttler and Foakes up a place but that might leave a bit light on batting.

So, Woakes or Curran for the number seven spot, Bess and Leach as our two spinners then two of Broad, Anderson and Wood for me. Wood the obvious x-factor in terms of pace in that attack and does represent something different with his reverse swing aswell.

Personally my XI would be -

1. Sibley
2. Bairstow
3. Crawley
4. Root
5. Lawrence
6. Buttler
7. Woakes
8. Bess
9. Wood
10. Anderson
11. Leach

Curran does offer a bit of left-arm variation but I’d still edge towards Woakes if he’s considered fully fit. Wood over Broad for me purely based on offering something different in SL conditions.
 
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wpdavid

International Coach
I think I read that Woakes' time in self-isolation after Moeen tested positive will count him out of the first test, so we'll probably see Curran at 7. There seems to be a lot of talk from the England camp about Lawrence playing, so good luck to the lad.
 

Woodster

International Captain
I think I read that Woakes' time in self-isolation after Moeen tested positive will count him out of the first test, so we'll probably see Curran at 7. There seems to be a lot of talk from the England camp about Lawrence playing, so good luck to the lad.
Yes I know it was touch and go with Woakes, thought he was back in training today and was just a question whether he’ll get upto speed in a short space of time. You’re probably right, Curran will probably get the nod all things considered.
 

grecian

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Think curran is a better option in the Sub-continent, not even sure why Woakes is there, as much for his batting I guess. sam's cutters are a definite wicket-taking option.
 

Pothas

Hall of Fame Member
I think I read that Woakes' time in self-isolation after Moeen tested positive will count him out of the first test, so we'll probably see Curran at 7. There seems to be a lot of talk from the England camp about Lawrence playing, so good luck to the lad.
Yeah Lawrence is pretty much a certainty, no other batsmen in the squad unless they played Buttler and Foakes.
 

trundler

Hall of Fame Member
Curran will need to reverse it to pose any threat with the ball. Although he could very well aim to get exaggerated seam movement like a pre-injury Abbas or Asif now that I think about it. Will depend on how dry the pitches are.
 

Red_Ink_Squid

International Debutant
Batting and spin bowling seems locked in at this stage, just the choice of seam bowlers in question with Silverwood saying they want 'variety' there. I reckon that means Broad and Anderson rotated like last time they were in Sri Lanka and they play alongside Wood plus one of the bowling allrounders (with Curran most likely getting the first Test if Woakes isn't ready). Could even see the entire pace attack rotated across the two Tests so we get:

Sibley
Crawley
Bairstow
Root
Lawrence
Buttler+
Curran/Woakes
Bess
Wood/Stone
Leach
Anderson/Broad
 

Pothas

Hall of Fame Member
Think he did well with the bat last time in Sri Lanka. I don't expect he will bowl all that many overs. They will miss Stokes the bowler loads.
 

Bijed

International Debutant
Not that it was exactly in doubt, but my attempts at trying to make a team I'd be happy to see play from the squad we've taken just hammers home how ridiculously valuable Stokes is to the side. Team balance (let alone quality) just seems so off without him.
 

wpdavid

International Coach
Think he did well with the bat last time in Sri Lanka. I don't expect he will bowl all that many overs. They will miss Stokes the bowler loads.
Curran? Yes I think he played at least one typical Curran knock to rescue an England innings after the top order had failed. Maybe more than one. Actually I'm quite keen to see how he goes batting at 7 instead of 8. A bit more time to build an innings instead of feeling he has to go ballistic from the start.
 

wpdavid

International Coach
I remember he plonked a few for a 70 odd
Including a ridiculous number of sixes, iirc. Maybe the first innings in the second test?

EDIT
Yes that was the first innings of the 2nd test; made 64 coming in at 170 for 6 to set up a final total of 290.
Not entirely different to the first innings of the first test when he made 48 coming in at 164 for 6. Eventually Foakes and Rashid saw us to 342.
He didn't play in the third test.
I think his innings in that series are sometimes devalued because of how aggressively he played; three sixes and six sixes respectively. But they weren't soft runs at all in the context of the match situations.
 
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Woodster

International Captain
Think curran is a better option in the Sub-continent, not even sure why Woakes is there, as much for his batting I guess. sam's cutters are a definite wicket-taking option.
See I disagree and that is mainly down to the fact I’m not a huge fan of Curran. I think he’s got a wonderfully gritty attitude and can be a real handful if it’s swinging, but as a bowler I don’t think he offers much after the new ball burst. He does have cutters but not any better than Woakes has, he does offer variation which may help Bess from the other end but not sure that’s necessarily enough for me.

I think Woakes can be more effective with the bat and probably do as good a job with the new ball.
 

theegyptian

International Vice-Captain
Curran does play spin well. Less good against pace. It's a bit alarming having a number 7 without a first class hundred.

Not convinced off his bowling skill away from home as of yet.

Still I think even if Woakes hadn't been self isolating in the lead upto to this series, Curran would likely be ahead of him for the number 7 spot. The variation Curran offers with the left arm angle, and his superior batting vs spin. Moeen would have been better than both if he wasn't isolating and in any kind of form.
 

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