England call up Rory Burns, Joe Denly & Olly Stone for Sri Lanka tour

Surrey opener Rory Burns has scored four centuries in Division One this season

England have called up uncapped Surrey opener Rory Burns to the Test squad to face Sri Lanka this winter – the first tour since Alastair Cook’s retirement.

Burns, 28, captained Surrey to the County Championship title this year and is the leading scorer in Division One, with 1,319 runs at an average of 69.42.

Kent batsman Joe Denly and Warwickshire fast bowler Olly Stone are also named in the Test squad for the first time.

England face Sri Lanka in three Tests in November.

Denly, 32, previous played nine one-day internationals and five Twenty20 matches for England in 2009 and 2010.

He has hit three centuries to help Kent win promotion from Division Two this season, scoring 798 runs at 36.27, and he provides England with an additional leg-spin option, having taken 20 wickets at 18.90 this year.

Stone, 24, was named in the one-day squad to tour Sri Lanka on Wednesday and has taken 37 wickets at 12.27 for Warwickshire in Division Two this season.

Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been recalled for the first time since his Test debut against New Zealand in March, with all-rounder Moeen Ali, who bowls off-spin, and leg-spinner Adil Rashid the other two specialist spinners in the 16-man squad.

Lancashire opener Keaton Jennings retains his place, despite struggling during a summer in which he scored 192 runs in six Tests at an average of 19.20.

Burns is likely to open alongside Jennings following the retirement of England’s highest Test run-scorer Cook, who scored a farewell century in the final Test of England’s 4-1 series win over India earlier this month.

Burns has hit four centuries and seven fifties in Division One this year and scored more than 1,000 runs in each of the past five seasons.

“I’m really delighted,” he told BBC Radio London.

“There has been a bit of hearsay about me getting called up and I’ve had a lot of questions about it, so it was nice to get the call to put an end to that, stop worrying about it and just get on with my business.

“I’ve never been to Sri Lanka before so that’ll be something new and I’m looking forward to getting going.”

Denly has batted at three for Kent this season but has previously opened and national selector Ed Smith said he was another option to bat at the top of the order.

“It took Joe a while to develop into the player that people saw he could become and he’s now really matured into a calm, classy, assured cricketer,” said Smith.

Surrey middle-order batsman Ollie Pope, 20, is selected after making his first two Test appearances against India this summer.

England’s two leading wicket-takers, Lancashire’s James Anderson and Stuart Broad of Nottinghamshire, are also included, with all-rounders Sam Curran, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes providing the other seam bowling options.

Durham’s Stokes was charged with bringing the game into disrepute earlier this week.

He and batsman Alex Hales – who was named alongside Stokes in the one-day squad – face a disciplinary hearing in December over an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.

Stokes, 27, denied a charge of affray resulting from the incident and was found not guilty in August. Hales, 29, was not charged.

England play five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match before the three-Test series against Sri Lanka.

Full Test squad

Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Jack Leach (Somerset), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

Analysis

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

It has been a long wait for Joe Denly, who is only one year younger than the retired Alastair Cook and therefore brings experience as well as runs and useful wrist spin.

So England have effectively four batsmen vying for three top-order slots – Keaton Jennings, who arguably would not have been selected had Cook not retired, the unorthodox but prolific Rory Burns and Moeen Ali, who is keen to make the number three spot his own.

South Africa recently conceded that trying to bowl fast in Sri Lanka is essentially a pointless exercise, but England have included Stuart Broad – who must prove his fitness – and James Anderson, along with the uncapped Olly Stone, who has genuine pace.

With a focus on spin, England have Moeen, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach, with Joe Root and Denly as support. It will be a challenging series.

Fixtures

October

30-31 Tour match v SLC Board President’s XI, NCC, Colombo

November

1-2 Tour match v SLC Board President’s XI, CCC, Colombo

6-10 1st Test, Galle

14-18 2nd Test, Kandy

23-27 3rd Test, Colombo