Cook: 'Exciting time' for England debutants

England

England captain Alastair Cook has expressed excitement at the prospect of having three debutants in their Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday, though he did acknowledge the gap in experience.

England captain Alastair Cook has expressed excitement at the prospect of having three debutants in their Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday, though he did acknowledge the gap in experience.

With Sam Robson, Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan set to make their Test debuts, and Robson his England debut, this will be the first time since 1988 that three players get handed caps at Lord's.

Cook said: "It's an exciting time. Three new caps is a very exciting time and we have a lot of guys with not a lot of experience but then on the other side of the changing room you've got five or six guys who have played close to 100 Tests.

"It's quite a big split but the last couple of days (training) have been brilliant."

Cook went on to confirm that at least Robson and Ali would definitely make their debuts, naming the top six of the batting line up, including himself and Robson as the openers.

He added: "Gary (Ballance) will bat at three, Belly at four, Rooty at five and Mo (Moeen) at six."

Another plot line is the relationship between the sides after the Mankading incident in the fifth ODI. Sachithra Senanayake, who is not playing here, ran Jos Buttler out at the non-striker's end after already warning him about backing up too far.

At the time, Cook reacted in anger, saying opposing skipper Angelo Mathews had 'crossed a line' by not withdrawing the appeal, but now he was at pains to stress setting a good example for those watching the match.

He said: "Both teams will play hard cricket. We have a responsibility to win the right way. A lot of people will be watching us and a lot of kids as well.

"What happened last week, I think at the time everyone was quite emotive about it but things have settled down and we've got to concentrate on our cricket.

"It was frustrating at the time and still is for what happened but he (Senanayake) was within his right to do it and the bottom line is that you can't really argue with that."

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