England will look to build on their winter success starting against Sri Lanka today
England will look to build on their winter success starting against Sri Lanka today

Andrew Strauss has rubbished talk of an "Ashes hangover" as England look to build on their winter success this summer, starting against Sri Lanka in Cardiff today.

Consistency is a word not often associated with English cricket sides. They have never produced a consistently strong Test team in the modern era. But for this summer and the next two years England must get into the winning habit if they are to harbour serious ambitions of reaching the top of the ICC rankings.

"It's not a homecoming, Strauss said. "If we were going to have homecomings we would have had them a long time ago. This is the start of a new cycle, the start of a busy and difficult summer, hopefully a step forward to becoming the number one Test side in the world. We achieved quite an important goal for us as a side to win out there in Australia but our goals now have turned towards this summer and beyond."

This summer, England play three Tests against Sri Lanka, and four against top-ranked India.

At present, England are ranked third, close behind South Africa whom they will overtake should they win all the matches in this coming series. If Sri Lanka win, they will overtake England.

"We are going to be tested by two very good sides," said Strauss. "We are looking to hit the ground running."

Having chosen Eoin Morgan over Ravi Bopara, England's only dilemma is between seamers Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn.

Tremlett would appear to be the favourite, having taken 17 wickets in the last three Ashes Tests.

But the final selection will not be announced until the coin toss at 1030 BST.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have sprung a surprise by leaving spinners Ajantha Mendis and Suraj Randiv out of their 12-man squad for the first Test.

Left-armer Rangana Herath was the only specialist spinner selected, with conditions expected to favour seam bowling.

"Herath has been bowling really well over the last few matches and he is a very experienced guy who has played a lot of Test cricket over the last few years," said Tillakaratne Dilshan ahead of his first Test series as Sri Lanka captain.

The last Test series between the teams in England ended in a 1-1 draw five years ago.

England squad: Strauss (c), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Morgan, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Tremlett, Finn.

Sri Lanka: Paranavitana, Dilshan (c), Sangakkara, M. Jayawardene, Samaraweera, P. Jayawardene, Maharoof, Perera, Herath, Fernando, Welegedera, Lakmal.