Even though one day and twenty20 series against Pakistan in UAE finished on a positive note, England, proud no.1 test team, won't be satisfied untill they conquer Asia in 5 day format. 0-3 whitewash in Middle East was a bitter pill to swallow but Englismen will appriciate another quick opportunity, a 2 test match series in Sri Lanka this March 2012..
It was England't batting that failed lion hearted performance from bowlers in unresponsive conditions in Middle East and once again, the question will be can visitors put totals on board this time? Captain Andrew Strauss has had a month to work on his technique and he'll try to stand longer with Alastair Cook who struck back to back century in UAE in ODIs and hence will be confident. Strauss and Cook are best opening pair still active in test cricket and it'll be on them to give the start to middle order on this Sri Lankan tour.
Jonathan Trott couldn't raise any significant score in Middle East but he remains the first choice no.3 in England line-up, ahead of Kevin Pietersen who revived his career with consecutive one day centuries. Pietersen has had his share of success in India and his attacking batsmanship may be the answer to English vows on this tour.
Ian Bell, considered one of the better player of spin bowling in England, couldn't read Saeed Ajmal's doosra but since Sri Lanka don't have Muralitharan in their ranks anymore, he'll breath a little easy. For no.6, with Eoin Morgan dropped after string of low scores, Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel are two options selectors have opted for. Bopara can add some seamers to the pace attack while Patel sends down left arm spin. Who between these two gets the first chance will be interesting to see.
Matt Prior has shown ability to counter spinners and he'll remain the first choice wicket keeper, backed up by Middlesex gloveman Steven Davies.
England depend on their fast bowlers to dismiss opposition no matter where they play and once again James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be leading the attack. Tim Bresnan had to return without playing any tests in UAE but he's fit now and will be an option for 3rd seamer although Steven Finn is faster and has proven himself in asian conditions on tours of India and UAE.
Monty Panesar outbowled Graeme Swann in two tests he played against Pakistan but Graeme Swann will remain the first choice based on his past performances. Interestingly, selectors have recalled James Tredwell, another offie from Kent county. This means visitors will not be short of spinners as they sit and opt for playing eleven.
National selector Geoff Miller said: “We have selected a squad that we feel will be able to make best use of the conditions we are likely to encounter in Sri Lanka.
“There is no doubt that this Test series will be a challenging one but it is exciting that players have an opportunity to demonstrate that they have learnt from the disappointment of the Pakistan Test series and can make further strides in developing the skills needed to succeed on the sub-continent.”