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Cook confirms England top six

Watch Alastair Cook face the press ahead of tomorrow's first Test at Lord's

By Rob Barnett & Glen Robertson

Alastair Cook has announced England’s top-six batting line-up for the first Investec Test with Sri Lanka at Lord’s that starts tomorrow.

Cook will open alongside senior international debutant Sam Robson, with Gary Ballance at three, Ian Bell four, Joe Root five and Moeen Ali, who will make his Test bow, at six.

Cook, whose opening partner was expected to be England Lion Robson, said: "Gary will bat at three, Belly at four, Rooty at five and Mo (Moeen) at six."

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior will likely come in at seven with the remaining batting line-up to be confirmed when the member of the 12-man squad, one of the seam bowlers, to miss out is announced.

Sam Robson and Alastair Cook walk out on the Lord's outfield for training today. They will be opening together in the first Investec Test

Should Chris Jordan make the cut and be named in the side, that would see three new caps taking to the field for the first Test of the summer.

Cook is excited to be leading a fresh new era and feels there is enough experience in the dressing room to cope with all the new arrivals.

"It’s an exciting time," said the skipper.

"(We have) a lot of guys with not that much experience, but on the other side of the changing room you’ve got five or six guys who have played close to a 100 games so it’s quite a big split in the side.

"But the last two days have been brilliant. Lord’s, when the sun’s out and it looks as good as it does, makes me incredibly excited about what’s going to come in the next five days."

Cook hopes that the new faces make the most of their chance to shine. 

He added: "When you look at the guys who are about to make their debut, (they're) about to play their first game for England at Lord’s. You don’t get that opportunity very often.

"Look at Sam, he’s ready for his debut. Yes he’ll be nervous, but what a place to make your debut, with the sun out at Lord’s.

"They will want to prove to everyone that they are international players and they deserve to be here."

Watch a comparison of Alastair Cook and Kumar Sangakkara ahead of the first Test at Lord's

For Sri Lanka, it is likely to be the final visit to England for both Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

The pair have never tasted a series victory on these shores, while Sangakkara's name has not yet made it onto the Lord's honours board.

Captain Angelo Mathews is hoping that his side can help them achieve the success they crave.

"If we can win the series, that will be the best send-off for them," he said.

"Kumar is dying to get a hundred at Lord's - he hasn't done it before, but Mahela has.

"They have served the country for ages - more than 15 years - and I think they've both got 10,000 runs each in Tests and ODIs. I think that says it all.

"They have class. In Mahela's case, he always plays brilliant knocks in finals - and leaves his best for the last.

"They are big-game players, and want to get involved in every big opportunity. I'm sure they will score hundreds, if they get (themselves) in."

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