London, May 22:Eoin Morgan won the race for the vacancy in England''s middle-order when he was named in a 12-man squad today for the first Test against Sri Lanka, seeing off the challenge of Ravi Bopara.
Former Ireland left-hander Morgan filled the place created by the Test retirement of Paul Collingwood, who quit the five-day format following England''s Ashes series win in Australia in January.
Morgan, who was in the Ashes squad but did not play in any of the Tests, has long been considered the next batsman in line and his inclusion for the opener against Sri Lanka, the first of a three-match series, in Cardiff on Thursday reflects England''s desire for consistency of selection.
Earlier this week the 24-year-old scored 193 against Sri Lanka for the second-string England Lions in a four-day fixture in Derby that concludes later on Sunday.
"Eoin Morgan impressed us last summer when he was given his opportunity in the Test side and has worked hard on his game throughout the tour of Australia and now has the opportunity to play a role in the Test team," said England national selector Geoff Miller.
There had been speculation Morgan''s decision to spend the early part of the English season playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) could count against him especially as Essex''s Bopara, who also bowls medium pace, had opted to miss this year''s edition.
Meanwhile fast bowler Steven Finn, Morgan''s Middlesex team-mate, was recalled to the squad.
Finn played in the first three Tests of the Ashes series win before losing his place to Tim Bresnan.
But the Yorkshire seamer is currently sidelined with a calf injury.
Finn, who was competing for a squad spot against Ajmal Shahzad, offers seam bowling support for the frontline trio of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett.
Former England off-spinner Miller added: "Chris Tremlett had a very encouraging (northern hemisphere) winter after a period of time away from the national side and, alongside Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Steven Finn, offers us a number of options with our pace attack."
All of England''s squad were in Australia, with Morgan the only member of the current 12 not to have played in the 3-1 Ashes series victory.
England, who will continue to captained by Andrew Strauss and have retained Kevin Pietersen despite a lack of early season runs, have set their sights on reaching the summit of Test cricket, as Miller explained.
"We currently have a talented and ambitious group of players who are committed to becoming the number one ranked side in Test cricket and we are determined to start an important summer strongly beginning against Sri Lanka in Cardiff."
Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wkt), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, James Anderson, Steven Finn. (AFP) PM