Ben Foakes set for shock England debut in First Test vs Sri Lanka

Ben Foakes could make a stunning Test debut next week after Jonny Bairstow was all but ruled out of the first match in Galle.

Bairstow is still struggling with the ankle ligament injury he suffered while playing football in the one dayers, which is why Foakes was parachuted into the squad as cover.

But Mirror Sport understands that Foakes could even leapfrog expected replacement gloveman Jos Buttler and take his place behind the stumps as the best keeper of the three.

England coach Trevor Bayliss is known to be a huge fan of the Surrey stumper who toured with England to Australia last winter and made a strong impression without playing a Test.

Bayliss had to convince national selector Ed Smith to call him up to the squad when Bairstow’s injury first occurred, and with Smith arriving on tour tomorrow, the battle to pick him in the team will be next.

Buttler has done the job throughout the white-ball series but at times has been a little untidy, especially when keeping to leg-spinner Joe Denly in the T20 match.

And since Buttler is nailed on to play as a batsman anyway, Foakes could come into the side as a straight swap for Bairstow until he is 100 percent ready to play again.

“I think all options are on the table,” admitted skipper Joe Root ahead of the first warm up match against a Sri Lankan President’s XI.

“The obvious choice would be to play Jos, and Jos will play as a batter regardless, but I think we are in a position of luxury, where we have got so many different options.

“Making sure we’ve got the best balance of side depending on the surface is going to be really important as well. We can see how these next four days go, and what the surface looks like in Galle, then pick a team accordingly.”

Root has also admitted that Test stalwart Stuart Broad could be dropped from the side for the first time since 2012 with three spinners in Galle a likely strategy.

“We need to not be shy of potentially playing a slightly different side to what you might have seen in previous winters,” added Root.

“We’ve been away from home for a number of times now and struggled so we may look at a different formula with or without Stuart.”

England have had their security upped in the wake of political unrest in Sri Lanka with demonstrations planned near their hotel. Former Sri Lanka captain turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga has been arrested and bailed over a shooting during the tensions.

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