Why Championship winners Surrey are set to have two Test debutants in Galle
Ben Foakes will make his Test debut for England after being given the gloves ahead of Jos Buttler.
With Jonny Bairstow ruled out with an ankle injury the Surrey stumper, regarded as the finest gloveman in the English game, is set to take his international bow alongside his county skipper Rory Burns.
The pair both played important roles as Surrey marched to the County Championship this season and twin debuts will cap off a stellar year.
As the white-ball keeper and one time Test keeper Buttler had been expected to take the gloves once Bairstow had been ruled out thanks to his injury playing football.
But, as Mirror Sport exclusively revealed a week ago, Foakes arrived in Sri Lanka and was immediately seen as a viable alternative rather than just injury cover.
Buttler’s disappointing one day series with the gloves only added to the sense that England needed to be sure that the person picked to replace Bairstow would take practically every chance that came their way.
And that is why Foakes, who travelled around Australia with the Test squad but didn’t play a match, has been given his chance.
Rain disrupted England’s training session in Galle, but Foakes was able to peel the covers off a section of the ground and get some work in with keeping coach Bruce French.
At the same time Buttler was put through his paces with some fielding drills with coach Paul Collingwood, even though he is such an athlete he automatically becomes one of England’s best fielders.
Dubbed by his Surrey boss Alec Stewart as the ‘best wicket-keeper in the world’ Foakes has looked a class above in his spells behind the stumps so far in the warm up matches.
And with spin set to play such a huge role, certainly in the first Test at Galle, Foakes will have a lot of standing up to the stumps to do which is the toughest job for a keeper where reactions need to be cat-like.
With Foakes slated to play it makes it highly unlikely that Joe Denly will find a spot in the top order with Moeen Ali the man England can turn to at number three.
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