London - England
captain Alastair Cook confirmed on Wednesday that his side would be
unchanged for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka starting at
Lord's on Thursday.
The hosts will go in with the same XI that enjoyed a nine-wicket win
in the second Test at the Riverside in Durham to take an unassailable
2-0 lead in the three-match series.
England again resisted the temptation to give a debut to
Nottinghamshire paceman Jake Ball, with the under-performing Steven Finn
retained to play on his Middlesex home ground.
"It will be the same team as at Durham," Cook told reporters at Lord's on Wednesday.
"We won the game, had some good performances and consistency in selection is a big part of our thinking.
"It gives people chances to show what they can do in England shirts.
"You don't want people always to be looking over their shoulder - when they get a chance they get a good run."
Finn has taken just
four wickets in the series so far but Cook said: "Steven, when he's
absolutely on song, is I believe up there in our three beat seamers in
the country. We saw last summer against Australia in particular, when he
bowled he bowled fantastically well.
"It's not always perfect.
"We don't get 11 guys at the top of their game at the same time.
"But Steven has the ability to take wickets.
"He hasn't quite nailed it in these two Test matches, but I've seen
glimpses in the nets, facing him just now I've got a big bruise on my
"He should be very comfortable here at Lord's. He's got a big future in the England side.
"He's not quite at his best, but I'm a big Steven Finn fan – he takes wickets."
While Finn has been struggling for wickets, Middlesex team-mate and
England number three Nick Compton has been struggling for runs.
By his own admission, Compton is playing for his place and Cook said:
"He's got the class to score the big score, but until you do it, there
are going to be questions."
Cook goes into this match having now become the first England batsman
to score 10 000 Test runs after reaching the landmark at the Riverside.
"It's been a pleasant week at home" said Cook of the time spent on his family farm.
"Though I was out in the rain the day after the game weighing fat
lambs, and I got wet through for six hours. That's coming back to earth
with a bump."
Recent series wins against Australia and South Africa have seen England lose the final game of the campaign.
"If we want to get to where we want to be, which is the best side in
the world, these are the games we need to play better in," said Cook.
England team for third Test against Sri Lanka:
Alastair Cook (captain), Alex Hales, Nick Compton, Joe Root, James
Vince, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad,
Steven Finn, James Anderson