Silverwood backs 'fighter' Lawrence to flourish in England Test debut

England head coach Chris Silverwood backs ‘fighter’ Dan Lawrence to flourish thanks to his technique and temperament when he makes his Test debut against Sri Lanka in Galle

  • Dan Lawrence is set to make his Test debut against Sri Lanka in Galle next week
  • Essex batsman will step up in England’s top six for first test starting Thursday
  • Head coach Chris Silverwood backed the 23-year-old to make the step up

Chris Silverwood insists Dan Lawrence has the technique and temperament to flourish when he makes his Test debut on Thursday.

Like Essex colleague Tom Westley, who was axed after five matches, the 23-year-old has a preference for the on-side, and he is known on the county circuit as Legside Larry.

However, he looked accomplished in making an unbeaten 46 in intra-squad practice ahead of the first Test in Galle, which starts on Thursday, and has the England coach’s backing to make the step up in a top six missing Rory Burns, Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope on this tour.

Dan Lawrence has been backed to flourish in Test cricket by England coach Chris Silverwood

‘You don’t know until they try. He is strong on his leg side but there is no reason why that can’t be a strength and he can adapt that to Test cricket,’ Silverwood said.

‘I think he’s ready. I’ve known Dan for a long time now having coached the Essex second team when he was coming through and he’s always played his way.

‘He’s a great character and a fighter with lots of skill. He does not get flustered. He doesn’t care who the opposition are. He loves scoring runs, and I saw those characteristics in him as a young man coming through.

‘He’s showing the same characteristics now so it is great to see the consistency. But equally his knowledge of the game and how he goes about playing his skills, and adapts to situations, has obviously got stronger and stronger. I think he is a very good cricketer and personality.’

With so much inexperience in the batting, there is an onus on captain Joe Root to make greater personal contributions. He has not scored a hundred since a double in November 2019, the second Test of Silverwood’s tenure as coach, a sequence of nine matches.

Silverwood remains as unruffled as Root on the issue, however, saying: ‘He is one of our best players and has the ability to take anybody down. He’s hungry for runs and when Joe Root is scoring runs the England side is stronger for it.’

The 23-year-old batsman is set to make his Test debut against Sri Lanka next week in Galle

England head coach Chris Silverwood insists Lawrence is a ‘fighter’ who will step up

The England team will get their first glimpse of the pitch being used for the first Test when they attend one of the world’s most picturesque venues on Monday morning.

Surfaces on a ground developed on the ramparts of an historic Dutch fort tend to take spin but England will have to make do without their most senior practitioner of this art in Moeen Ali, who will not come out of isolation following his positive Covid Test until 24 hours before the toss.

It is debatable whether Chris Woakes, a close contact of Moeen’s in transit from the UK, will be available either with Silverwood conceding ‘timelines are tight’ following his own period away from the squad.

But regardless of who walks onto the field at the start of a two-Test series, Silverwood believes England have the quality to replicate the series victory of 2018-19 and therefore maintain outside hopes of reaching this summer’s World Test Championship final.

‘It is difficult to win here. We have to respect that this Sri Lanka team are a very good in their own conditions. But do I believe we can win? Of course I always believe our team can beat anyone.’

England will be without Moeen Ali, who is still in isolation following his positive Covid-19 test

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