Joe Root names England side for second Sri Lanka Test

Joe Root has opted for an unchanged side in Kandy with Ben Stokes moving to three as part of a batting order reshuffle.

All rounder Stokes has been promoted to three not only above Moeen Ali who suffered a double failure there in Galle, but also Jos Buttler who had been asked to do the job if England had bowled first last week.

The bad news for Jonny Bairstow is that despite being passed fit and available for selection he was snubbed entirely with England convinced they still need three spinners in their attack for a dry looking pitch.

With the same bowling attack that took all 20 wickets in Galle, England are confident of being able to secure the victory that will mean a first overseas series win in five attempts.

Root is confident that Stokes will be able to not only do the job of a number three batsman thanks to his technical ability but that his all rounder role won’t get in the way.

It is unlikely that Stokes will need to bowl many overs in the second Test with the pitch looking even drier than Galle and certain to be helpful for the spinners.

However Stokes is a restless character when he’s not in the game and Root won’t want to lose his explosive bowling ability when it is his day with the ball. It will take some managing.

Root said: "I think there’ll be an element of adaptability in it. You obviously want some sort of consistency in your top order but there will be, I’m sure, in tours in this part of the world surfaces where conditions are so extreme you might want to change things round."

Bairstow will also have some soul searching to do over the remainder of this tour as he ponders and plots his way back into the England side, while perhaps cursing his one time football warm ups.

His future as an England player now seems likely to be as a specialist batsman and whether he targets the No.3 role himself with Stokes returning to the middle order at home is an option. Nothing though is guaranteed as he must surely appreciate.

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