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
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness