Former England wicket-keeper batsman Matt Prior believes that Ben Foakes' outstanding debut in the series opener of the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka at Galle International Stadium has left the selectors with a “nightmare decision” for the second Test in Pallekelle.
Foakes was given the opportunity to represent the Three Lions in Test cricket only after first-choice Test wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow picked up an ankle injury while playing football in a warm-up during the One Day International series in Sri Lanka, and the right-hander made the most given opportunity here.
The 25-year-old announced his Test debut with a brilliant century (107 runs) in Galle and became only 20th Englishman to score a hundred on debut in the longest format of the game here. With the stunning knock against Sri Lanka, Foakes also became the second wicket-keeper to hit a century on Test debut only behind Prior, who made an unbeaten 126 against the West Indies on his debut at Lord's in 2007.
His laudable maiden Test innings pulled England out of crisis condition against Sri Lanka and helped the touring side to post a good first-innings total of 342 on the board at Galle.
Prior –a member of the talkSPORT radio commentary team covering the Test series in Sri Lanka, told reporters, “Getting a debut hundred is phenomenal but in this innings in particular, to walk out at 103 for five and play in foreign conditions, with all the challenges that come with that, is just a huge, huge effort.”
Meanwhile, besides a ton, Foakes' some brilliant work behind the stumps left England with a dilemma that the national selectors should go with Bairstow for the second Test in Pallekelle. There are also questions that whether the selectors drop Foakes after such an impressive and confident debut or they retain the Surrey wicketkeeper and play Bairstow purely as a batsman in Pallekelle?
To which, former English man felt, “It's going to be a selectors' nightmare. Jonny, fully fit, would have played this Test match, probably would have performed well, done well with the gloves and scored runs and we wouldn't be having this conversation.”
Prior signed off by saying, “If he is fully fit, then he should come back into the team. Whether he keeps wicket, that's a whole other conversation. I believe you've got to pick the team that's going to win you a Test match on any given day. If it's deemed that actually, Ben Foakes isn't in the XI that's going to win a Test match then you have to make that tough call.”
(Inputs: Star Sport Live)