Second Test: England ‘likely’ to make changes – Silverwood
Chris Silverwood says it is ‘highly likely’ England will make changes in the fast-bowling attack for the second Test against Sri Lanka, as they look to manage their resources during a run of six matches in eight weeks.
England selected Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and Sam Curran in their first Test line-up and it is possible that all three could be rested for the second match which begins in Galle on Friday (22 January). “We’re training again tomorrow, so we’ll see how everyone has pulled up,” Silverwood said. “Looking at we’ve got in front of us, it’s highly likely there will be rotation and rests with the seamers line-up.”
Silverwood confirmed that Chris Woakes, who was not deemed fit for the opening Test after having to quarantine for seven days as a close contact of Moeen Ali, who had COVID-19, is ready to be considered for selection, while James Anderson and Olly Stone are also in the squad and will come into consideration. If Stone were to get the nod, it would be for his Test debut.
“I am excited about him,” Silverwood said. “We’ve Wood, Stone and [Jofra] Archer who can also hit 90+ mph. I think it’s great to have that in your armoury. What we’ve seen from Olly is that he hits the deck hard and bowls at pace. He is getting better and better in the areas he is bowling and the understanding of what he’s trying to do and the plans he is putting in place.
“We talk about having a varied attack and having everybody fit and ready go. At some point we probably do need to get him into the attack if we can. He’s got to earn his way there, which he is doing. He’s working hard and doing everything we ask of him. It would be great to get some Test experience in him at some point, either here or India.”
While the fast-bowling stocks are back up to full-strength, Silverwood said Moeen is unlikely to feature in the second Test as he continues his recovery from coronavirus. It means that England are likely to stick with the twin spin attack of Dom Bess and Jack Leach who played in the opening Test, sharing 14 wickets between them, including a five-wicket haul each, despite both admitting that they had not bowled as well as they would have liked.
“I thought they went better as they went on,” Silverwood said. “It was great to win the Test, but I wouldn’t say we were at our best. I expected a little bit of rustiness. If you think, we’ve not played since last summer, and the short prep going into this. I thought the two spinners got better as they went on. Started hitting their straps, finding their lengths and pace.
“For getting a game under their belt, they’ll come out better for that. I think the fact the two of them got five wickets each will do them a world of good from a confidence point of view as well. It was really pleasing to see that.”
Although the batting line-up is likely to remain unchanged for the second Test, England’s management face some tricky decisions for the India tour.