Injured Dawson ruled out of tour as Denly is called up

Tom Curran
Tom Curran
0
Have your say

England will return to a familiar team shape in the third one-day international against Sri Lanka, adding an extra pace bowler in place of the departed Liam Dawson.

The tourists made the rare decision to field three specialist spinners in both matches last week, but the chief beneficiary of that tactical switch, slow left-armer Dawson, is on the way home after suffering a side strain.

Liam Dawson, left.

Liam Dawson, left.

His replacement Joe Denly, recalled to the 50-over side after a nine-year absence, will not join his team-mates until a matter of hours before the scheduled start time and neither he, nor the freshly-married and newly-arrived former Yorkshire bowler Liam Plunkett, will be considered for selection.

Instead, Tom Curran looks set to feature ahead of Mark Wood, the pair having been ousted in the seam ranks by newcomer Olly Stone in Dambulla, while the younger Curran brother, Sam, is also on hand to offer left-arm swing.

With just eight more one-day internationals before the provisional 15-man World Cup squad is announced, and competition hotting up, Woods’ likely omission nudges him back in the pecking order.

Wood is quicker and more experienced, but Curran senior has the subtlety and variation which might allow him to thrive in sub-continental conditions.

Whoever wins out, all-rounder Moeen Ali says England will be more than comfortable to lean on a familiar configuration.

“We just go back to the same balance of team we’ve had these last few years,” he said.

“It’s a shame for Daws, because this was a great opportunity for him to play regularly and it hasn’t happened for him.

“I think it’s more going back what we’re good at, two spinners in the side with Joe Root being the third if needed. He’s been bowling really well with the white ball and we have good skills with our seamers as well.”

One shift that will not be forthcoming is a move up the batting card for the versatile Moeen.

He opened the batting on England’s previous trip here in 2014 and his 119 in Colombo remains the country’s highest ODI innings on the island.

He now sits at number seven and has no serious designs on a top-order place these days given the wildly successful reinvention of the team’s batting ethos.

“You sometimes kind of think, ‘I would love to be opening’, but I think the way the guys have played over a few years now, there’s not a single one I look at and think I should be batting ahead of,” he said.

“All six of the guys are fantastic players, they have so much skill and have scored so many runs I don’t look at them and think I should be batting ahead of you.

“I’ve got to make an impact at number seven.”

West Indies coach Stuart Law has been suspended for two matches for making “inappropriate comments” to a TV umpire and fourth official.

Former Australia star Law admitted breaching the International Cricket Council (ICC) code of conduct during Sunday’s Test match against India, and will sit out the West Indies’ two one-day internationals.

The 54-year-old – who will take over as head coach at Middlesex in December – has accepted the sanction, so will be sidelined for the October 21 and 24 ODIs in India.