Vince and Ball earn England calls


James Vince and Jake Ball have been included in England's 12-man squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka, which starts at Headingley next Thursday.

Hampshire batsman Vince, capped five times by his country in limited-overs cricket, has long been tipped for Test selection and fills the middle-order vacancy left by James Taylor's enforced retirement due to medical reasons.

Seamer Ball, meanwhile, has enjoyed an excellent start to the County Championship season with Nottinghamshire, taking 19 wickets at an average of 21. He appears likely to act as back-up for senior pacemen James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn.

England's selectors have largely kept faith with the players who earned a 2-1 series win in South Africa either side of Christmas. Opener Alex Hales is retained despite modest returns on his maiden Test tour, while Nick Compton - whose place was also believed to be under threat - will continue at three.

National selector James Whitaker said: "Both Jake Ball and James Vince thoroughly deserve their opportunity having performed well with the England Lions and starting the season in good form with their respective counties.

"Building on his success with the Lions in the winter, Jake has impressed with the ball and shown excellent control and skill in the opening matches of the County Championship. If selected, we are confident he will perform very well at international level.

"James has been a consistent performer for Hampshire and England Lions over the past few years. He is already well regarded by the England coaches in the short format and now has the opportunity to showcase his skills at Test level."


England Test squad to face Sri Lanka: Alastair Cook (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Nick Compton, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Vince.