Rory Burns will be given the chance to succeed Alastair Cook at the top of England’s Test batting order, after being named alongside two other uncapped players, Olly Stone and Joe Denly, in a 16-man Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka in November.
Burns, who has been the stand-out batsman on the county circuit this summer, has been rewarded for his haul of 1319 runs at 69 in Surrey’s triumphant run to the County Championship title – a run that might have included ten wins in a row but for high winds forcing an abandonment of their latest contest at Somerset this morning.
It is the fifth season running that he has passed 1000 runs in first-class cricket, and Ed Smith, England’s national selector, said that – at the age of 28 – he had made an unanswerable case for selection. “[Rory] has been the most consistent run-scorer in county cricket in recent seasons and fully deserves his elevation to the Test squad.”
Burns is likely to open in the first Test at Galle alongside Keaton Jennings, who has been retained in spite of a top score in six Tests this summer of 42. However, the 32-year-old Denly could be given the chance to press for a berth, after Smith praised his maturity on his return to international recognition after playing nine ODIs and five T20s up to 2010.
“Joe Denly has had an excellent season with bat and ball and has matured into one of the leading players in county cricket,” said Smith. “He has that all-round touch of class that can help at the highest level.” Denly could also offer further bowling options with his legspin, a mode of attack that could prove useful on Sri Lanka’s flat wickets.
The other stand-out selection is that of the 24-year-old Olly Stone, who was named earlier this week in the ODI squad, but is set to press for his place in the Test squad as well after impressing with his 37 wickets at 12.17 for Warwickshire this season. His director of cricket at Edgbaston, Ashley Giles, has warned that England need to treat his young quick like a “Ferrari” as he makes his way in international cricket, but he is set to be blooded in an unforgiving environment.
“Olly Stone is an exciting talent who bowls with pace and skill,” said Smith. “His 37 wickets in the county championship have come at an average of 12.27 and a strike rate of 22.22.”
Despite speculation that either or both would be rested for the Sri Lanka tour, both James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been selected.
More to follow