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Mahmood, Panesar in English Test squad

Published: Sunday, May 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London:Lancashire pace bowler Sajid Mahmood was named in an England squad of 13 today for the first Test against Sri Lanka starting at Lord's on Thursday.

Mahmood, cousin of Britain's Olympic lightweight boxing silver medallist Amir Khan, joins Matthew Hoggard, Jon Lewis and Liam Plunkett in a reshaped pace attack.

Lewis, who took nine wickets for England A in their 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka, has been included in three test squads but has yet to win a place in final 11.

Steve Harmison, Simon Jones and James Anderson, as well as left-arm spinner Ashley Giles, are unavailable because of injury.

Andrew Flintoff retains the captaincy in the absence of Michael Vaughan who is still recuperating from a knee injury.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar has been selected ahead of the more experienced Shaun Udal while Alastair Cook, who made a century on his Test debut against India this year, will bat at number three ahead of Ian Bell.

Bell has been retained in the squad in case England decide to play an extra specialist batsman.

''Alastair Cook enjoyed an excellent start to his test career in the sub-continent and he will occupy the number three position in the order,'' chairman of selectors David Graveney said in a statement.

''There is intense competition for places in our batting lineup at present.'' Marcus Trescothick, whose return home from India for personal reasons gave Cook his opportunity, returns to the side for the first match in a three-Test series.

England - Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff (captain), Geraint Jones, Matthew Hoggard, Liam Plunkett, Jon Lewis, Monty Panesar, Sajid Mahmood.

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