Strauss pays price for a poor year
The dropping of Andrew Strauss for the first time in his 43- match Test career was the main talking point of the latest England squad announcement.
He was recently awarded a central contract for the next 12 months, but he has paid the price for a really disappointing year in which he averaged only 27 and failed to score a century.
Even on the rare occasion that he managed to pass 50 he looked unconvincing and the feeling of the selectors is that he needs a rest, and more time to work on one or two technical issues.
Interestingly, his absence will pave the way for Michael Vaughan to return to opening the innings - the position he prefers, but stood down from when Strauss first appeared on the scene.
Strauss will be considered for the New Zealand tour in the New Year but, as with everyone else in his situation, his return will depend heavily on the performances of the batsmen on duty in Sri Lanka.
Of those, Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara are considered to be good players of spin, something they will see plenty of in the Tests.
There had been a lot of speculation about the second wicket-keeper’s spot, not least because whoever was chosen would have a real chance of playing if Matt Prior fails to cut the mustard, as it were, especially when standing up to the wicket to the spinners.
Phil Mustard impressed in the one-day series with his excellent, relaxed attitude and has earned his chance, although Tim Ambrose, a former team-mate of Prior's at Sussex, was considered very seriously.
Stuart Broad was due a chance in the full Test squad and, having played in 21 one-day games, his opportunity has come.
He has more than enough height to get some bounce out of what will be sluggish, dry pitches and his batting will be important in the absence of Andrew Flintoff.
It is an excellent development that Steve Harmison is travelling to South Africa prior to the tour in order to get some match practice under his belt - compare that to England’s pre-Ashes preparation last year - and he should hit Sri Lanka running after two games in the sunshine under the watchful eye of bowling coach Ottis Gibson.