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Cricket | England tour of Sri Lanka 2018/19

Jos Buttler © Getty Images

England stumped with selection quandaries



Jos Buttler is at the centre of a double selection dilemma that England must solve for the second test against Sri Lanka starting Wednesday.

One doubt is who will be the wicketkeeper now that Jonny Bairstow is fit again, while Ben Foakes scored a brilliant century on his test debut as a replacement in the last game and Buttler could also stand in.

England are also searching for a regular No 3 batsman and Buttler is again one of the candidate.

Bairstow injured his ankle playing football during training in the one-day international series that England won 3-1 but is reported to be ready again.

Buttler, one of the keep deputies around captain Joe Root as well as wicketkeeper for limited overs games, was not sure who would take the gloves Wednesday. He admitted that leaving out Foakes, who hit 107 in the first test triumph, would be a tough decision.

"There are some options. He had a fantastic game in Galle, and probably one of the the best debuts ever in test cricket.

"By lunch on day two, he had a hundred, a stumping and a catch," Buttler said in praise of Foakes' role in the 211 run victory in Galle last week.

"Ben's come in and done brilliantly well, but you have to remember what a brilliant player Jonny has been –- one of, if not England's best player for a number of years," he said.

No 3 has become a long term gap in England's arsenal even though Buttler insisted that the team have "great options".

Moeen Ali looked far from convincing in the first test – scoring zero and three – while his eight wickets should guarantee his place in the team.

Buttler said he was ready – "if required".

"In this part of the world it doesn't matter too much where you bat," he said.

"Potentially it could be the best time to bat as well. There are some great options for the side. That's what really exciting for the coach and the captain, trying to fit 11 players into the side," he added.

England's batsmen generally gained the upper hand against Sri Lanka's spinners in the first test, managing 342 in the first innings after tottering at 103-5.

They finally won the game inside four days and Buttler believes the win has given them confidence for the rest of the series.

"From talking as a group about how we were going to play, it was pleasing to go out and deliver it, and it got us in," said Buttler.

"I think it's a good sign for the lads that we're excited by the challenge, and happy to take it on, and not be afraid to do things differently if we have to.

He added: "But we know we've played one good game of cricket. There are still two left in the series, and Sri Lanka are a very good team in their own conditions, and they're going to come back hard. So we look forward to a tough test match."



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