Norfolk’s Olly Stone set to make England debut in tour opener
- Credit: AP
Norfolk youngster Olly Stone looks set to make his England debut in the first one-day international against Sri Lanka after impressing in his first week with the squad.
The Warwickshire paceman is on his maiden tour with the national side and has put himself in prime position to start the five-match series, which gets under way in Dambulla on Wednesday.
England completed a final net session under lights at the Rangiri stadium, complete with thousands of swarming insects for company, giving the 25-year-old one last chance to seal his place in the XI.
All-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes are certain to take two of the seamer slots with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid inked in as spinners.
That leaves two more positions between Stone, Mark Wood, the Curran brothers Tom and Sam and third-choice spinner Liam Dawson.
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Conditions before the toss may determine whether the latter earns a nod but Stone, who was selected for last week's solitary warm-up win over a Sri Lankan Board XI, seems to have done enough.
Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler said: 'He's hitting the gloves hard, I thought he was impressive (in the tour match).
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'The guys facing him in the nets said it wasn't that enjoyable. He's obviously had a great season and come back really well from injury. I think he is a really exciting prospect.'
Buttler went on to suggest that Stone could act as a like-for-like replacement for Liam Plunkett, a cornerstone of the limited-overs side in recent years but absent for the first three games of the series due to his wedding.
'Look at someone like Liam Plunkett, who has had a fantastic time for us and taken a lot of wickets, they perform a pretty similar role: a big, tall guy with a lot of pace,' he said of Stone.
'They are quite different as well, which is exciting. Mark Wood is quite skiddy, Olly is different, Sam Curran, Tom Curran have a lot of variations in the attack. I've been really impressed with Liam Dawson as well.
'There's also guys like Jake Ball and David Willey who are injured at the moment. There is a nice pool of bowlers.'