With the Sri Lanka v England Test series postponed because of coronavirus, we’re playing out two Test matches between Sri Lanka and England on Cricket Captain 2018’s ‘All-Time Greats’ mode… This is Sim Series.
Most of you said they should.
Okay, people were able to respond to the survey multiple times if they wanted – but we figure anyone who did that was merely showing passion.
We’re happy for our surveys to be weighted for passion.
The upshot is we’ve gone with post-1982 England players to try and even things up a bit.
Five of the players who played the first Test were very obviously ruled out of the second Test. Wilfred Rhodes, Herbert Sutcliffe, Wally Hammond, Jim Laker and Syd Barnes all needed replacing.
So where does that leave us.
First up, Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Ben Stokes all retain their places.
With regards to Ian Botham, the selectors concluded that they were effectively considering the post-1982 vintage and so tragically there’s no Beefy. Similarly, it turns out Alan Knott’s Test career ended in 1981, so he needed replacing too.
The other marginal decision was Derek Underwood. Turns out Underwood took 5-28 in Sri Lanka’s very first Test innings, so he is very much in.
In terms of openers, it was a bit of a toss-up between Graham Gooch and Marcus Trescothick. England have gone for Tres, who did actually have a good record in Sri Lanka.
At number three, it was David Gower or Jonathan Trott. That’s a fiendishly tough decision, but it’s also true that it’s an opportunity to pick David Gower and so in that situation, obviously you pick David Gower.
Pietersen can move up to four, leaving a very difficult choice between Joe Root, Graham Thorpe and Ian Bell for the fifth batting slot. England have gone with Thorpe on the basis that he’s literally teaching Root what to do these days and so presumably knows more than he does. (We can exclusively reveal that the selectors spent a good 20 minutes wondering whether they should pick James Vince for a laugh but ultimately decided against it.)
Matt Prior is picked behind the stumps because the selectors immediately thought he was the best choice and only later realised that if they were to employ their reasoning from the first Test of picking the best keeper, they should have gone with Jack Russell.
It is too late to correct this.
Monty Panesar edges out Adil Rashid as third spinner. Paul Collingwood is picked specifically to run the drinks.
Sri Lanka team
Sri Lanka weren’t forced to make any changes, but they’ve made a couple anyway.
Seeing how England’s deathly dull top order batting set them up for victory in the first Test, they’ve dropped Tillakaratne Dilshan for Marvan Atapattu.
Arjuna Ranatunga comes in as a specialist captain, which unfortunately means that Kumar Sangakkara has been forced to don the gloves.
Join us tomorrow for day one.