Cricket

England captain Alastair Cook is eager to pass the landmark of 10,000 Test runs as soon as possible.

Steven Finn to get nod in first Test against Sri Lanka, says captain Cook

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Alastair Cook has revealed Steven Finn, as expected, will start ahead of Jake Ball in England's pace attack for the first Investec Test of the summer.

Ball was given his maiden senior international call-up last week when named in England's 12-man squad to face Sri Lanka at Headingley after impressing with the Lions over the winter and in the early part of the county season.

However, his only hope of making his England bow was to oust Finn, who had niggling injuries over the winter and was reported to have been struggling with his rhythm recently.

Finn, though, played a crucial role in the memorable Test series win in South Africa and he will return to the line-up.

"Steven Finn is going to (play). He has been outstanding when he's been fit for us," Cook confirmed at his press conference.

"It's great to have Jake along, and he's made a big impact this year in county cricket. It's great for the guys who haven't seen too much of him to get to know the guy."

Cook has the opportunity to create history in Leeds this week, needing just 36 more runs to become the first Englishman to reach the 10,000-barrier and just the 12th overall.

He said: "It would mean a lot and hopefully I can get there sooner rather than later so we can talk about something else. It's a big milestone in terms of the people who have done it previously so it would be great to try and score these 36 runs.

"I've just got to put that to bed after this press conference and try and do what I've done in the previous 10 years, which is just try and concentrate on that ball coming down and nothing else."

Cook's fortunes have improved remarkably since Sri Lanka's last visit to Yorkshire two years ago, when Angelo Mathews' tourists claimed a thrilling series win after bowling out England with the penultimate ball of the Test series.

It was a low ebb for Cook as captain of a transitioning England side, but he has reaped the rewards of the patience shown in him with last year's Ashes success and the following triumph over the Proteas in their last Test assignment.

"It was a game of fine margins and Sri Lanka came out on top and thoroughly deserved it," he said. "It was a real tough moment for me as a captain, there's no doubt about that, but I'm glad I hung in there for what's happened since.

"It's probably taken me three years to feel comfortable in the job and hopefully I can carry on for a bit, and while I'm still enjoying it and while the guys are still responding I'm staying there."

Sri Lanka are still adjusting to life without star batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, with the pair accruing more than 24,000 runs in Test cricket.

Cook added: "They're irrreplaceable but sides move on and evolve. Sri Lanka have got a history of punching above their weight and are really, really competitive, no matter what's gone before."

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Steven Finn
Cricket

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