Bopara in three-way battle to replace Morgan for Sri Lanka series
Despite their disastrous Test series with Pakistan, England are favourites to win their upcoming series on the sub-continent with Sri Lanka at 6/5 and much will depend on who bats at number six.
Eoin Morgan has been left out of the 16-man squad for Sri Lanka having struggled massively against Pakistan.
In 17 innings in all forms of the game against Pakistan, Morgan mustered just 199 runs, while he was especially found out in the Test environment when averaging just over 13 in six innings.
This leaves a vacancy in the middle order and England have called up Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel, who seem the logical duo to fight it out for the spot.
Bopara must have the advantage given that he has already amassed a significant amount of international Test experience and scored two 50s in the one-day series with Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Patel would make a Test debut if selected and he may prove better than most at coping with the spin on sub continent pitches.
Patel certainly performed creditably against the Pakistan spin attack in the one-day encounters and his own ability to bowl spin could be an extra bow to England’s armoury.
Furthermore, he is no mug with the bat, averaging around 40 in domestic cricket and regularly being positioned in the top four at Nottinghamshire.
The third option for England would be to promote Matt Prior up the order to number six as a slight reward for his displays in the Tests with Pakistan, where he was one of a select few batsmen to emerge with any credit.
This would lose some depth in the batting line-up, but would allow England to pick three front-line seamers to join two recognised spinners in Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar.
Sri Lanka are 5/2 to hand England back-to-back Test series defeats.