London: Uncapped English duo James Vince and Josh Ball were both named in England's 12-man squad for next week's first Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley.
Hampshire batsman Vince could well make his Test debut in Leeds, given that there is now a vacancy in the middle-order following the retirement of James Taylor through illness. Nottinghamshire paceman Ball, meanwhile, looks set to compete with Steven Finn for the third seamer's role in an attack led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Vince, 25, already has five England limited-overs caps. His batting style has been compared to that of former England captain Michael Vaughan. He has made a sound start to the season, including a hundred against county champions Yorkshire at Headingley.
Ball, also 25, made his case with 19 championship wickets for Nottinghamshire this season. "Both Ball and Vince thoroughly deserve their opportunity, having performed well with the England Lions (the national A or reserve side) and starting the season in good form with their respective counties," said national selector James Whitaker in a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
"James has been a consistent performer for Hampshire and England Lions over the past few years. He is already well-regarded by the England coaches in the short format and now has the opportunity to showcase his skills at Test level," it said.
England will again be captained by Alastair Cook, with the Essex left-hander needing just 36 more runs to become the first Englishman to score 10,000 in Tests. Alex Hales looks set to keep his place as Cook's opening partner, with Nick Compton in line to be given another opportunity at number three in what will be England's first Test campaign since their series win in South Africa.
At Headingley two years ago, Sri Lanka won a thrilling match with just one ball remaining to claim a 1-0 Test series victory. This time around, they are without batting greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, both now retired from international cricket. "Sri Lanka are a young side, and we expect a strong series between the two teams to start the summer of international cricket," said Whitaker.
The first Test, which starts at Headingley on 19 May, is the first of a three-match series. England have also named a 30-man performance squad for their home season, including 22 players who have either central or incremental contracts based on international appearances over the last year.
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Updated Date: May 12, 2016 16:55:31 IST