The reasons behind England’s recent success away from home “not rocket science”, says head coach Chris Silverwood; Olly Stone “exciting” but no decisions made on seam attack for second Test in Sri Lanka; watch the second Test from 4am, Friday on Sky Sports Cricket
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 19/01/21 3:52pm
England head coach Chris Silverwood says he is excited by fast bowler Olly Stone but could not confirm whether he will come into the XI for the second Test in Sri Lanka.
With the first of five Tests – four of them in India – in the space of six weeks beginning on Friday, Silverwood acknowledged that rotation of the seam attack was highly likely in Galle.
Chris Woakes, who had to self-isolate and missed much of the build-up to the first match, is available for selection again and joins England’s all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson and Stone in pushing for a place having been left out of the series opener.
The tourists could opt for an entirely different pace attack and leave out Stuart Broad, Sam Curran and Mark Wood this week, but Silverwood says there no final decision made has yet been made.
“I am excited about him,” he said of Stone, whose only previous Test appearance came at Lord’s against Ireland in 2019. “We have got Wood, Stone and (Jofra) Archer who can all hit 90mph-plus and I think it is great to have that in your armoury.
Sri Lanka vs England
January 22, 2021, 4:00am
“What we have seen from Olly is that he hits the deck hard, he bowls at pace and he’s getting better and better with the areas that he’s bowling, his understanding of what he’s trying to do and the plans that he’s putting in place.
“But he’s got some great people around him to help him do that as well, Jimmy and Broady are very good are imparting their knowledge and it’s great for him to learn from them. I am very excited that we have got people like Olly.
“We talk about having that varied attack and having everybody fit and raring to go, at some point we probably do need to get him into the attack if we can. But again, you have got to earn it, which he’s doing.
“He’s working hard, he’s doing everything we ask of him from a training perspective so it would be great to get some Test experience into him at some point.”
On whether than chance will come in the second Test, he added: “Potentially, either here or in India; wherever really.”
Dom Bess and Jack Leach are set to continue as England’s spin options with Silverwood confirming Moeen Ali, who only came out of quarantine midway through the first Test having tested positive for coronavirus, is unlikely to be available due to the strict protocols in place for the series.
England have turned around their fortunes away from home since Silverwood took over as head coach in the autumn of 2019 and go into the second Test in Sri Lanka aiming for a fifth straight win on the road.
You have to go back to the mid-1950s for the last time England won four away Tests in a row but Silverwood insists there is no great secret to their recent success.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s exactly what I stated when I came into the job really: big first-innings runs then put the opposition under pressure with skilful bowling,” he told reporters.
“One of the things that we have done with the bat now is score 400 or gone beyond that on many occasions, I think it is six times in 12 innings which shows that we are building towards what we said we were going to do.
“With the ball, we have been relentless. It’s what we did in South Africa and it worked there, we are looking to be relentless again this winter, good areas, variation in the attack. It’s really not rocket science, it’s just becoming really, really good at doing the basics well and then implementing the plans we put in place.”
Watch day one of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 4am on Friday.
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