Stuart Broad will be England's vice-captain for the Test series against New Zealand.

Joe Root confirmed on the eve of England's first game of the summer at Lord's that paceman Broad will be his deputy.

Broad steps in with Ben Stokes still recovering from a fractured finger and Jos Buttler rested after completing a quarantine period following the cancellation of the Indian Premier League.

England face the Black Caps at Edgbaston after starting the two-match series at Lord's this week.

Broad revealed he considered retiring after he was left "frustrated, angry and gutted" over his omission from the side for the first Test against West Indies in July before responding with some outstanding performances.

James Anderson will match Alastair Cook's record of 161 Test appearances if he is named in the team to face on Kane Williamson's side in London on Wednesday.

England captain Joe Root feels fortunate to have a "battery of fast bowlers" and says both James Anderson and Stuart Broad could play in the third Test against India.

The tourists have adopted a rotation policy in Sri Lanka and India at the start of a year in which they face such a hectic schedule.

Anderson was outstanding in England's victory in the first Test at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, but missed out as Broad came into the side for a second match at the same venue in Chennai that was comprehensively won by India.

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson is expected to return along with Jofra Archer for the day-night Test at Motera Stadium, which starts on Wednesday, while Broad will be hoping to retain his place.

Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are also in contention to charge in with the pink ball in Ahmedabad, where England need a win to keep alive their hopes of playing New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final.

Root refused to be drawn on the make-up of the side and did not rule out unleashing Anderson and Broad for the first time this winter, with England mulling over whether to go with an extra seamer and just one spinner.

Asked if Anderson and Broad may have played in the same team for the last time, Root said: "I think you'd be wrong to ever write off those two to do anything.

"The records they've had, the things they have produced - especially in the last couple of years - there's a reason they are up there with the top three bowlers in the world.

"They are consistently getting better the older they get, they are using their experience to their advantage all of the time and I'm sure there will be opportunities where they get to play together in the near future and much further down the line as well.

"You are talking about two of England's greatest bowlers and the records they set will be difficult for anyone to pass. I feel like there is a lot of life left in them both and you add in guys like Jofra, Woody, Woakes, all of these skilful bowlers around them, we are building a very good team, that they are very much at the front of."

Root added: "They [Anderson and Broad] have got a chance, it's a great selection headache to have all these bowlers putting in performances and giving us real variety so we feel we can pick a team that best suits the conditions and the best make-up we think is going to balance things very well."

Archer was not risked for the second Test due to a shoulder problem but Root says the paceman is fully fit and raring to go.

"He's a world-class performer, he's got all of the skills. He can bowl high pace, swing it both ways and obviously can make it talk off the seam," said the skipper.

"Along with the rest of the guys in contention, it's a very exciting place to be. To have a battery of fast bowlers to choose from is where we want to be and keep improving moving forward."

The fit-again Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow will also be hoping to get the nod.

Joe Root urged Dom Bess to find consistency after he was left out of the England squad for the second Test against India.

The tourists have opted for a new-look bowling attack in the second meeting at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, despite winning the opening match of the series by 227 runs at the same venue.

Bess drops out of the reckoning, with James Anderson and the injured Jofra Archer also missing out, paving the way for Stuart Broad to come back in and Moeen Ali to return.

Having taken five wickets in the four-match series opener and scored 59 runs with the bat, Bess was offered some words of advice by captain Root.

"It wasn't an easy decision; Dom's contributed fantastically well in these three games and has made a real impact," Root said.

"With him missing out, the message for him is to keep working at that consistency of his game, delivering that skill time and time again. We talk about building pressure over long periods of time and I think, as well as he has done, that is one area that he can improve on.

"But he is very young, very much at the start of things and this doesn't mean that he is going to be pushed back down the pecking order.

"It gives him an opportunity to step out of Test cricket, the harshest of environments, especially in these conditions against a team that plays spin so well, to take stock and work at his game.

"It gives Moeen a chance to come back into things, with all his experience. He's someone who is bowling very well in practice.

"It was a very difficult decision to make, I'm sure Bessy will be frustrated about it but that's good as well. You want that competition for places, you want guys to be playing all the time and be amongst it all

"That's certainly how he goes about his cricket. He's a wholehearted player and I expect a response from him."

Root is certainly well placed to talk about consistency, having once again underlined his brilliance last time out when he clocked up a first-innings double century in his 100th Test appearance to continue riding the wave of his fine showing against Sri Lanka.

The 30-year-old has piled on 684 runs in his previous three matches, which equates to 39 per cent of his side's total runs in Test cricket in 2021. 

Fans hoping to see the Yorkshireman showcasing his skills in the Indian Premier League will once again be disappointed this year, but Root does want to get involved in the future.

"It was a very difficult decision," he said regarding his decision not to register. 

"At some point in my career I'm desperate to try and be part of an IPL season and hopefully a few more beyond that as well.

"It's something I'd love to experience and love to be a part of, but with the amount of cricket – and Test cricket in particular – this year, I didn’t feel like it was the right time.

"I didn’t feel like I could throw all my energy into it, which I think it deserves. And I don’t think it would set English cricket up best with what's to come.

"It's a very difficult decision and hopefully next year there's an opportunity to be a part of the IPL."

The atmosphere at games is one of the IPL's most appealing qualities and the famously vociferous India fans will have a chance to make themselves heard in the second Test, with 15,000 allowed in.

Asked if he thinks it will change the dynamic of the contest, Root said: "Yes, I do. I think it will improve it massively

"I think having an atmosphere within a stadium is a massive part of international cricket.

"What makes it special, in many ways, is that interaction between the fans and the players. It makes those big moments, that noise and the build-up… it adds to it all

"Obviously, we know how passionate India is about cricket. It's a big part of life in many ways here and we're all excited about that.

"We want to be playing on the biggest stage in front of people. We're looking forward to that atmosphere and it's going to add to what has already started off as a brilliant series for us."

England will have a new-look bowling attack on duty for the second Test as they go up against an India side determined to bounce back in the series.

James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Dom Bess were all part of the XI that helped England become the first visiting nation to win a Test at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai since Pakistan in 1999, ending an eight-game unbeaten streak for the hosts.

However, none of the trio will be involved when the two teams face each other again at the same venue.

While Archer is ruled out with an elbow injury, Anderson has been rested and Bess left out of a 12-man squad. Stuart Broad seems certain to play, with the other seam-bowling spot between Chris Woakes and Olly Stone. Moeen Ali will be the second spinner; the all-rounder has not featured in Test cricket since August 2019.

Captain Joe Root admitted it was not an easy decision to give Anderson a break considering how well he performed in the opener, but England had to look at the bigger picture during such a busy year.

"Everyone's heart was in favour of him being available for this game but also you have to look at the bigger picture and ideally if he is available for two of the last three, that is a huge asset for us with the way he is bowling and his reputation, as well as his numbers and the way he has performed in recent games," Root told the media.

India, meanwhile, head into this match under pressure; they have only ever lost the first two games of a home Test series against England once previously, when they went on to suffer a 3-1 defeat in 1976-77.

Virat Kohli pointed to a failure by the bowling unit to keep England's scoring rate in check in the aftermath of the opening defeat, with slow-bowling duo Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem struggling to provide support for pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, as well as frontline spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Axar Patel missed that match due to a knee injury but came through a fitness test on Thursday. Kuldeep Yadav could also get an opportunity on a pitch that, according to Ajinkya Rahane, will spin from the outset.

"I am sure it will turn from day one," Rahane said on the eve of the game. "We will have to wait and see how it behaves in the first session and take it from there."

In a boost for India, there will be fans present for the second of four matches in the series. The ground is allowed to be 50 per cent full, though there will be social distancing measures in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Captain Kohli in the spotlight

India have now lost four Tests in a row under Kohli, who departed the tour of Australia after his side had been shot out for 36 to lose the series opener in Adelaide. He returned home for the birth of his first child, with stand-in Rahane then leading the side to a 2-1 triumph.

Kohli made scores of 11 and 72 upon his return to the XI, but those numbers were not enough to stop him slipping to fifth in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings for batsmen.

Root keeps on digging in

Root underpinned England's triumph last time out with a double hundred in a mammoth first innings of 578, in the process continuing his stunning run of form following on from a hugely successful tour to Sri Lanka.

The right-handed batsman has managed 684 runs in his previous three matches, which equates to 39 per cent of his side's total runs in Test cricket in 2021. There have been useful contributions from his top-order colleagues so far overseas, but no other batsman has reached three figures in an innings during the calendar year.

Key match facts

- England have only managed to register one Test series win in India since their 2-1 tour win in 1984-85 - their successful tour in 2012 being the solitary triumph during that period (D1 L4).
- India still lead the head-to-head record with England in Tests played at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, winning five compared to the visitors' tally of four after the series opener (D1).
- England have managed to record six overseas Test wins in succession ahead of this match – victory in this game will equal their longest ever run in the format (seven in a row between 1911 and 1914).
- Rishabh Pant has a batting strike rate of 70.6 in Test cricket, only two men (with a minimum of 600 runs scored) have higher rates for India (Virender Sehwag at 82, plus Kapil Dev at 81)
- Broad (517) is three scalps away from going into sixth place on the all-time leading Test wicket-takers list, jumping above Courtney Walsh (519); the Englishman has picked up 41 wickets at an average of 14.5 since the start of 2020.

England have replaced Stuart Broad with James Anderson as they aim to clinch a fourth successive series victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

A seven-wicket win in Galle gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the rearranged series, following on from an overseas triumph in South Africa a year ago, plus successes against West Indies and Pakistan on home soil.

Joe Root led from the front with a double-century last time out and, with the recalled Jonny Bairstow and debutant Dan Lawrence also contributing runs, the tourists have gone with the same batting line-up.

Anderson comes into the side as England make just the one change, with Broad given a rest, as Mark Wood retains his place and Olly Stone misses out along with Chris Woakes. 

As for Sri Lanka, they will once again be without Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne as he continues to recover from a fractured thumb.

Kusal Mendis has been dropped after a poor run of form with the bat – he has managed just 27 runs in his last six Test innings – while seam duo Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep, as well as wicketkeeper-batsman Minod Bhanuka, have been allowed to depart the bio-secure bubble.

The home side will be aiming to prevent their opponents from winning a fifth successive Test overseas, a feat England have not achieved since a run of seven in a row between 1911 and 1914.

Sri Lanka fought back well after being dismissed for only 135 in their first innings of the opening Test and captain Root knows England cannot expect to have things all their own way as they eye another triumph on tour.

He said: "They are a proud team and they have a great record at this ground. Not only that, they have some very talented players.

"We already saw that throughout the game with how it unfolded in the second innings. The way that they played with the bat in the second innings was very different to the first and showed that in those conditions, they are a very hard side to break down.

"We know that this isn't going to be an easy game for us."


LEACH IN SIGHT OF RECORD

Jack Leach was understandably a little rusty in the previous game, having only played in two first-class fixtures throughout 2020. However, the left-arm spinner improved as he clocked up the overs, claiming 5-122 in the second innings to leave England needing just 74 for victory.

His six in the match lifted his career Test tally in Sri Lanka to 24, just one behind Ashley Giles who sits top of the all-time list for England. Considering it is expected to be another spin-friendly surface in Galle, Leach will fancy his chances of taking top spot before the short tour concludes.

SRI LANKA AIM TO STOP THE ROT

Despite showing some defiance with both bat and ball in the opening Test, Sri Lanka have now lost three in a row. They have not suffered a longer losing run since a four-game span between December 2015 and May 2016.

Their first-innings total of 135 left them with too much ground to make up second time around, so the continued absence of opener Karunaratne is a blow.

KEY MATCH FACTS

- England will be looking to record a third successive Test series win against Sri Lanka for the first time.
- England have lost only one of their Tests since the start of 2020 (W7, D2) and are undefeated in their last six of that stretch (W4, D2) – the last time they went on a longer unbeaten run was a 13-Test span (W7, D6) from November 2012 to August 2013.
- Joe Root made 228 last time out, his maiden Test double-century in Asia. That innings included 74 runs from conventional sweep shots, almost twice the number of his previous high in a Test match (41 at Pallekele versus Sri Lanka in November 2018).
- Lahiru Thirimanne has scored 50 or more in two of his past three Test innings at Galle, after doing so only once in his previous 12 knocks at the venue.
- Jos Buttler held on to all five catching opportunities in the series opener; only once before in his Test career has he managed to claim more catches without dropping one (July 2014 v India – 6/6).

Sri Lanka and England both have plenty to ponder over team selection as they prepare to finally face each other in Test action again. 

The nations were due to meet in March 2020, only for their two-match series to be postponed amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. England were playing a tour game in Colombo at the time when the decision was taken to cut short the trip and head home. 

They have returned 10 months later for a rearranged tour, with the ongoing COVID-19 situation seeing them hosted in a bio-secure bubble for both games in Galle. 

However, Moeen Ali will miss the first Test – and possibly the next one that follows – after a positive test result upon arrival. Chris Woakes had to self-isolate having been considered a close contact, so missed out on England's only warm-up game. 

Moeen was joint-leading wicket-taker with fellow spinner Jack Leach - taking 18 wickets apiece - when England swept the hosts 3-0 on spin-friendly pitches when visiting Sri Lanka in late 2018, though captain Joe Root is aware the surfaces may not be the same now.

"We are very aware that the conditions might be very different to the last time we played here," Root told the media.

"We are not going to have too many preconceived ideas about what we are going to come up against. It's quite dangerous and lazy to walk into a series like that." 

The tourists are without Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes – who are both rested with a long tour to India to follow immediately afterwards – while opening batsman Rory Burns has remained in England for the birth of his first child. 

As for the hosts, a recent 2-0 Test series defeat in South Africa came at a cost in terms of injuries. Dhananjaya de Silva and Kasun Rajitha are both sidelined, plus Oshada Fernando has had no match practice after a spell out of action. 

However, there is good news over the fitness of batsman Dinesh Chandimal – who missed the second Test against the Proteas – and seamer Suranga Lakmal, plus former captain Angelo Mathews is back as Sri Lanka aim for a first Test win over their opponents since a famous triumph at Headingley in 2014. 


JONNY BE GOOD AGAIN?

With holes to fill in the batting order due to key absences, England are set to hand a debut to Dan Lawrence and recall Jonny Bairstow, who appears to be the choice to bat at number three with Zak Crawley moving up to open.

Bairstow made a century at that position in the previous Test against Sri Lanka, the third time in four first-innings knocks he has reached three figures against them. However, he has not played in the format since 2019, having lost his place after averaging 18.6 in 19 innings during that year.

Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes played a starring role for England in Sri Lanka last time, averaging 69.25 with the bat, but looks set to miss out on the final XI.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne's century in the second Test against South Africa was one of few positives for Sri Lanka in a 10-wicket defeat in Johannesburg to start the new year.

The opening batsman has averaged 66 on home soil in Tests since 2018 (14 innings), though none of his 10 career hundreds have come against England. 

Having Mathews back should ease some of the run-scoring burden, too. The 33-year-old may not contribute much with the ball these days but does average 45.31 with the bat in Tests. He will go into the opening game needing just 19 more runs to reach 6,000 in the format.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have won their previous two bilateral Test series against Sri Lanka; they are attempting to record three successive victories against them for the first time.
- Sri Lanka come into the series having only mustered one win in their past seven Test matches (D2 L4); they have just suffered a 2-0 series defeat against the Proteas, losing the opener by an innings margin before slumping to a 10-wicket loss in the second match of the series in South Africa.
- The hosts have only lost once in five Test matches against England at Galle International Stadium (W2 D2). However, the most recent meeting between the sides at the venue was won by the tourists.
- Sri Lanka have managed to get the umpire's decision overturned in 23 per cent of their referrals in Tests since the start of 2019. Only Australia (22 per cent) have a lower rate; England's record stands at 31 per cent across that period.
- Despite making his Test debut in Sri Lanka over 13 years ago, Stuart Broad has only played three Test matches in the country. He has picked up three wickets there (averaging 83), but is six scalps away from going above Courtney Walsh (519) and into sixth in the list of all-time leading Test wicket-takers.

Fair or foul? Gamesmanship or unsportsmanlike conduct? Steve Smith found himself in the spotlight after his actions on the final day of the third Test between Australia and India in Sydney.

Smith was at his best with the bat in the match, making scores of 131 and 81 as he returned to form in style after a recent lean spell.

However, it may well be his footwork during Monday's final day will overshadow what he achieved during the rest of the Test.

With India battling to save the game, stump camera footage seen on social media showed Smith standing at the crease during a break in proceedings, the Australian shaping up as if he was batting, including marking a guard.

His actions at the crease forced India's Rishabh Pant to retake his own guard before play resumed, with the moment becoming a hot topic on Twitter.

"Tried all tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant's batting guard marks from the crease," former India batsman Virender Sehwag wrote to accompany the footage that was seen on the international feed of the broadcast.

Retweeting Sehwag's post, ex-England captain Michael Vaughan added: "This is very very poor from Steve Smith!!". Meanwhile, David Lloyd, who played and coached England before becoming a television commentator, wrote: "How childish".

Pant did not seem too perturbed by what happened, however, going on to make 97 as India impressively secured a draw.

Smith was sacked as Australia captain following the ball-tampering scandal during the tour of South Africa in 2018. Along with team-mate David Warner, he was banned for 12 months from international and domestic cricket for his involvement in the incident.

Cameron Bancroft, who was the player caught by television cameras appearing to use sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against the Proteas at Newlands, was handed a nine-month suspension.

Tim Paine, who took over as skipper of the Test side, was also trending on social media after a verbal exchange with India's Ravichandran Ashwin during the final session of play at the SCG.

Ashwin pulled away before a delivery as he and Paine shared words, their conversation picked up by the stump microphone.

England paceman Stuart Broad pointed out on Twitter that such situations are "part of the game" during a Test match, though did suggest Paine's use of an expletive could land him in trouble.

The wicketkeeper was indeed fined after the game, though lost 15 per cent of his match fee as punishment for dissent after questioning an umpiring decision during day three of the match.

Ashwin ended up unbeaten on 39 to help India survive and remain level at 1-1 in the series ahead of the final game in Brisbane.

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