Nottinghamshire bowler Jake Ball will have to wait for his England debut after official confirmation that Steven Finn will play in the first Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday (19 May). The 27-year-old will join usual suspects James Anderson and Stuart Broad as the third seamer as the hosts commence another hectic summer of cricket by welcoming Angelo Mathews' side to Headingley.
A calf injury saw Middlesex's Finn replaced by Yorkshire counterpart Liam Plunkett in the squad for the recent ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India, where England beat South Africa, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand en route to the final before suffering a heartbreaking four-wicket defeat to the West Indies. He later expressed frustration with that omission by insisting that he was fully fit for the start of the competition.
"Steven Finn is going to play," Test captain Alastair Cook confirmed at a press conference as reported by The Guardian. "He has been outstanding when he's been fit for us. It's great to have Jake along, and he's made a big impact this year in county cricket. It's great for the guys who haven't seen too much of him to get to know the guy."
After two years in the wilderness amid costly technical problems with his run-up, Finn returned to Test cricket in the summer of 2015 and took advantage of Mark Wood's absence to take eight for 117 and earn man of the match honours during a commanding Ashes victory over Australia at Edgbaston.
He later missed the entire tour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to a stress injury in his left foot and claimed 11 wickets during the series victory in South Africa before being sidelined with a side strain. After opening a three-match series against Sri Lanka in Leeds, England move on to the Emirates Riverside in Durham next Friday (27 May) before closing at Lord's. The two teams will then meet in five one-day internationals and one T20 match before Pakistan visit in late July.
England team to face Sri Lanka at Headingley
Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Nick Compton, Joe Root, James Vince, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson