England have recalled batsman Keaton Jennings and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes for next month’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka while fast bowler James Anderson remains sidelined with a rib injury, the country’s cricket board (ECB) announced on Tuesday.
Foakes has played five Tests for England, making his debut against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2018 while Jennings, who has two centuries in the sub-continent, was last involved in their tour of West Indies last year.
England, who won the four-match Test series 3-1 in South Africa last month, also made the decision to rest Anderson so he would be available for the English summer when they host West Indies.
"The South Africa tour marked the emergence of a very exciting group of young players, creating a nice balance with an experienced core of senior players," national selector Ed Smith said in a statement.
“That squad is mostly retained, with some tweaks to the squad relevant to injury, rest and the challenges of playing in sub-continent conditions.”
Jonny Bairstow has been rested and injured pacer Jofra Archer was left out while spinner Moeen Ali was unavailable for Test selection.
“Jonny Bairstow has been in England squads across the three formats without a significant break. This two-Test tour presents a good opportunity for Jonny to be rested,” Smith added.
Sri Lanka host England in two matches in Galle (March 19-23)and Colombo (27-31 March), with the series forming a part of the ICC World Test Championship. England are third in the points table behind India and Australia while Sri Lanka are fifth.
England squad: Joe Root (captain), Keaton Jennings, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Dom Bess, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Jack Leach, Jos Buttler, Dominic Sibley, Stuart Broad, Ben Foakes, Chris Woakes, Matthew Parkinson, Mark Wood.
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The-31-year-old, who was with the England squads for the tours of South Africa, Sri Lanka and India, has not featured in any match. He last played in an ODI against Australia in September last year.
England assistant coach Graham Thorpe said Ben Stokes should not forget that he has the ability to put bowlers on the backfoot as he tried to play down the star all-rounder's apparent struggles against seasoned Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Hussain also said England batsmen will have to find a way to score and not just defend though the pitch looked extremely difficult.