Moores happy to wait for Harmison

At 32 degrees Celsius Colombo is currently in the middle of a cold snap but the heat will be on England's bowlers to impress from the moment they lace up their boots this morning. Michael Vaughan's side arrived in the Sri Lankan capital yesterday evening with the captain stressing how important it is for the team to start well, and nowhere is competition for places fiercer than amongst England's bowlers.

On previous overseas tours the make-up of England's bowling attack has been fairly predictable but on this trip those who can stir the selectors during the next fortnight will fill the four or five available places. Monty Panesar appears to be the only bowler certain to play in Kandy on 1 December after Peter Moores, the England coach, confirmed that he enters the three Test series against Sri Lanka as the team's premier spinner.

Modern tours give teams little time to acclimatise and England have only six days of competitive cricket before they line up against Muttiah Muralitharan and Co. And with the selectors likely to pick their Test side for the final three-day warm-up game in Colombo, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson, Matthew Hoggard, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Stephen Harmison – who is expected to arrive from South Africa early next week – have no time to lose.

"You always have permutations of teams and how the bowlers will fit in running through your head," said Moores within minutes of arriving at the team hotel, "and what has been nice is that the lads that have come in [whilst senior players have been injured] have bowled well. As we go through the build-up we will see how people are bowling and how they knit together, but we will still have some tough decisions to make. We want to make sure that our best players are ready for the first Test."

It is not inconceivable for England to enter the first Test without a member of the 2005 Ashes winning attack. This has happened before but on previous occasions it has been due to injury. Neither Hoggard or Harmison have been dropped since those days and the chances of both being omitted in Kandy seem slim.

"What your pedigree is as a cricketer will influence selection and you pick the 11 blokes who can best win a game of cricket for England," said Moores. "In Hoggard and Harmison, providing he comes through his final match in South Africa, we have two experienced bowlers and the three other seamers in the squad came here and did well in the one-day series. They have upped the ante just a little bit, but this is a very good thing because it has made it very competitive.

"Monty is certainly our No 1 spinner. Graeme did well in the one-day games but he has still got stuff to do. Monty has proved that he is an outstanding Test match bowler over the last couple of years. He takes his wickets at 30 a piece, which is very good for a finger spinner."

Harmison claimed nine wickets in the first of two trial games for the Highveld Lions and should this form continue in the current match (he is yet to bowl) he may well leap ahead of those currently in Sri Lanka.

"I spoke to Stephen before I left England and he is in good spirits," said Moores. "He is happy with the progress he has made and feels that he is bowling fit and that all he needs is a bit of fine tuning. The signs are looking very good but we will reassess things at the end of the current game. He knows that it is not just about being fit, it is about being ready to be picked for a Test match."

To give Harmison as much bowling as possible England will ask the Sri Lankan representatives to make the first warm-up match, which starts on Tuesday, as flexible as possible. The game is expected to be a non first-class 13 or 14-a-side affair.

l The England bowler Liam Plunkett, currently playing for South African side Dolphins against Harmison's Highveld Lions, took 3 for 23 with a mere three no-balls yesterday.

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions