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May 7, 2006
Sajid Mahmood and Jon Lewis have been called up for the first Test against Sri Lanka which gets underway at Lord's on Thursday. As expected, Andrew Flintoff will captain England in the absence of Michael Vaughan.
Mahmood and Lewis, both of whom are uncapped, are in fine early-season form; Mahmood took four wickets for Lancashire in their recent victory over Kent, and Lewis decimated Sri Lanka with nine wickets in England A's crushing win at Worcester.
"Andrew Flintoff did an outstanding job as captain in difficult circumstances in India with a young team and he will lead the side again while Michael Vaughan continues with his rehabilitation from injury," explained David Graveney, the chairman of selectors.
"We are delighted with Marcus Trescothick's early season form and he will return to the team in his normal position opening the innings with Andrew Strauss. Alastair Cook enjoyed an excellent start to his Test career in the sub-continent and he will occupy the number three position in the order."
England have been dogged by injuries all winter, and their luck hasn't improved with the start of the season: Vaughan, Simon Jones, Steve Harmison, Chris Tremlett and James Anderson are all missing with injuries.
"We have a number of bowlers out so it is a great opportunity for the likes of Jon and Mahmood and Plunkett," Graveney added. "The final decision between which seamers play will be down to Duncan [Fletcher] and Andrew when they see the wicket next week.
"The weather at this time of this year will also be a factor."
England squad: Andrew Flintoff (capt), Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Geraint Jones (wk), Monty Panesar, Liam Plunkett, Matthew Hoggard, Sajid Mahmood, Ian Bell, Jon Lewis.
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