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Cricket: Robson set for England debut against Sri Lanka

Australia-born Sam Robson was in line to make his England debut after the Middlesex opener was named Thursday in the squad to play Sri Lanka in next week's first Test at his Lord's "home" ground.

LONDON: Australia-born Sam Robson was in line to make his England debut after the Middlesex opener was named Thursday in the squad to play Sri Lanka in next week's first Test at his Lord's "home" ground.

Robson was one of three uncapped players named by national selector James Whitaker in a 12-man group along with Barbados-born all-rounder Chris Jordan, who impressed during the recent 3-2 one-day series defeat by Sri Lanka, and Moeen Ali, who provides England with their lone spin option.

Meanwhile Yorkshire seamer Liam Plunkett, capable of hitting the 90mph mark, was recalled having last played Test cricket seven years ago.

Matt Prior, who has been struggling with an Achilles injury, was passed fit to keep wicket.

And that meant there was no place for Jos Buttler, who made a blistering century for England against Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day international at Lord's on Saturday or Jonny Bairstow, the man who replaced Prior during England's 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.

England national selector James Whitaker said: "We believe that this group of emerging talent will be very well complimented by the established core of experienced players that have been selected."

Robson, the son of an English-born mother, is set to open alongside England captain Alastair Cook after Michael Carberry was dropped in what was Peter Moores's first Test squad since he returned to the job of England coach.

He impressed on recent England second-string tours of Australia and Sri Lanka, making five hundreds in six matches during those trips while his coach at Middlesex, Angus Fraser, is now a Test selector.

"The winter form (showed) his (Robson's) excellence -- five hundreds there, and he showed some great characteristics," Whitaker told Sky Sports.

"He has a great attitude and is very fit, focused and disciplined - all the attributes Peter and Alastair want in their squad.

"All along, Sam has had the hallmarks of the next England opening batter."

Meanwhile Whitaker insisted Prior was up to the task of getting through a Test match, saying: "That is our number one priority, in selection criteria, someone being 100 per cent fit -- and we're very confident Matt is.

"We believe now he can be a part of that core group of senior players that can drive this team forward for the next two or three years."

Ben Stokes, who scored his maiden Test century in Perth last year before injuring himself when he punched a dressing room locker in Barbados after a golden duck, was not considered after playing only two first-class matches this season, with his place going to Chris Woakes.

Ali, primarily a batsman, provides England with a spin option following the retirement of off-break bowler Graeme Swann.

Robson, an Australia Under-19 international who also played for Sydney's Eastern Suburbs club, headed to London soon after leaving school.

Last year, Cricket Australia brought in the so-called 'Robson rule' allowing dual passport-holders to play domestic matches in more than one country.

But Robson, whose Middlesex captain is Australia opener Chris Rodgers, insisted in April he felt no conflict of loyalties.

"Middlesex is where I've learnt to play first-class cricket," he explained at the time.

"I committed simply by coming in the first place, signing up and giving up opportunities in Australia when I was very young. So from then on my focus has always been here."

Six players who featured in England's last Test, a crushing 281-run defeat by Australia at Sydney weren't included Thursday -- Kevin Pietersen, whose international career was terminated by the ECB after the Ashes, Carberry, Stokes, Bairstow, former Ireland seamer Boyd Rankin and leg-spinner Scott Borthwick.

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