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Jordan tipped for Test call-up
Chris Jordan is set for his first inclusion in an England Test squad, but Jos Buttler may have to wait a bit longer for his five-day debut.
As England prepare to announce the first squad of Alastair Cook and Peter Moores' new era on Thursday, to face Sri Lanka at Lord's next week, the captain gave the strongest of hints that pace-bowling all-rounder Jordan will be named.
Jordan produced two man-of-the-match performances in England's Royal London one-day international series defeat against the same opponents, which concluded in a controversial decider at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
He has clearly impressed ODI and Test captain Cook, and there is an obvious space waiting for him in the balance of England's team.
The same may be true of Buttler, of course, depending on Matt Prior's fitness following an Achilles injury to return behind the stumps.
But the messages were already sufficiently mixed about England fast-tracking the wicketkeeper from limited-overs duty to the Test arena, before his spot of bother in Birmingham.
Before a ball was bowled in the midlands, head coach Moores appeared more open than Cook - or indeed Buttler himself - to the suggestion the 23-year-old might be ready for promotion after his startling maiden international hundred at Lord's last weekend.
But with Prior hoping to get through apparently unscathed in Sussex's rain-affected county championship match at home to Nottinghamshire, and another plausible contender in veteran James Foster, Buttler's 'Mankad' dismissal at Edgbaston may perhaps be the complicating factor that persuades England the time is not quite right yet.
Cook acknowledged ill-feeling between the teams is likely to spill over into the Investec Test series, as he reflected on what he termed a "pretty poor act" by Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake - endorsed by captain Angelo Mathews - to run Buttler out as he backed up out of his ground at the non-striker's end.
It is an emotive topic in cricket, one which may well rankle in the weeks to come, and probably something Buttler could do without while trying to establish himself as a Test match cricketer.
Prior was hampered by bad weather on the final day of this week's championship matches - along with other England probables and possibles such as Stuart Broad, Sam Robson and Ben Stokes - as he tried to rubber-stamp his claims for next week's Lord's Test.
But he is nonetheless the most likely selection, to return having been dropped in favour of Jonny Bairstow for the last two matches of England's Ashes whitewash in Australia last winter.
There is little doubt Buttler's batting has caught the attention and imagination of the public - but asked to nominate a player who has pressed his case in England's 3-2 ODI defeat to Sri Lanka, Cook focused exclusively on Jordan.
Two career-best bowling performances, and some fine batting down the order, saw him leapfrog Tim Bresnan - twice released from the squad by England to play for Yorkshire instead.
It will be a surprise therefore if Barbados-born Jordan is not pencilled in as third seamer behind Broad and James Anderson.
Cook is enthused by the prospect of a Test debut for the all-rounder, and made it clear he sees him as the prime mover among those who boosted their credentials in the Royal London Series.
"I certainly think Chris Jordan has.
"The way he batted as well ... the way he handled himself, in a different situation rather than just whacking it.
"He's bowled really well, and on all reports ... he does swing the red ball, at a good pace, so I'm looking forward to seeing him play (Test cricket)."
It is a telling endorsement on the eve of the squad announcement.
But tougher discussions face the selectors before there is confirmation for Cook of who will open alongside him, and who might be able to bowl spin if required.
The incumbent at the top of the order is Michael Carberry, who partnered Cook throughout the Ashes and was perhaps surprisingly welcomed back into the ODI reckoning at the start of this summer despite his outspoken criticism of the former management.
The bandwagon nonetheless appeared to be firmly behind a Test debut on his home ground for Middlesex's Australia-born opener Sam Robson after he began the summer with a big hundred against Nottinghamshire at Lord's.
Despite the recent wet spell interrupting his prolific form, but he remains a likelier choice than in-form Yorkshire left-hander Adam Lyth - uncapped in any international format - or a return to the top of the order for Joe Root.
Nick Compton was jettisoned by the previous regime of Andy Flower - having, like Carberry, fared acceptably. A return for him is an outside option.
Root can expect to vie with another White Rose representative, Gary Ballance, for a middle-order berth.
The biggest conundrum comes further down the list, and the identity of a spinner to succeed Graeme Swann.
England chose Monty Panesar, and then debutant Scott Borthwick, in two Tests following Swann's mid-Ashes retirement.
No one, from a long but low-profile cast, has made a compelling early-season case for inclusion - although most have amply demonstrated their capability with the bat too.
Of them, the consensus appears to be that the uncapped Mooen Ali may edge the verdict ahead of Samit Patel - both primarily batsmen who, like Root, can also bowl finger-spin.
Possible England squad (v Sri Lanka in first Investec Test at Lord's, starting on June 12): AN Cook (Captain), SD Robson, JE Root, IR Bell, GS Ballance, MM Ali, BA Stokes, MJ Prior (wkt), CJ Jordan, SCJ Broad, JM Anderson, LE Plunkett