MATT Parkinson has kept his place in the England squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka next month.

Bolton’s Lancashire star is one of three spinners in the party with Jack Leach and Dom Bess also involved.

The trio have been on the tour of South Africa, Parkinson playing not part in the Test series but featuring in two one-day internationals against the Proteas.

He has also represented England in T20 action against New Zealand this winter.

The 23-year-old from Heaton could now be in line to make his Test bow with pitches in Sri Lanka favouring spin bowlers.

Moeen Ali, England's joint-leading wicket-taker on their last visit to Sri Lanka, has however decided to continue his indefinite break from Test cricket.

Elsewhere, England have recalled Parkinson’s Lancashire team-mate Keaton Jennings and Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes.

The pair were both discarded after the West Indies tour 12 months ago but both of Jennings' Test hundreds have come on the subcontinent and Foakes was player of the series in England's 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in November 2018.

Foakes' inclusion means there is no room for Jonny Bairstow in a 16-man touring party while England's record wicket-taker James Anderson is another high-profile absentee.

National selector Ed Smith said: "The selection panel has supported continuity after a successful series victory in South Africa.

"The South Africa tour marked the emergence of a very exciting group of young players, creating a nice balance with an experienced core of senior players.

"That squad is mostly retained, with some tweaks to the squad relevant to injury, rest and the challenges of playing in sub-continent conditions.

"Somerset spinner Jack Leach has recovered from his illness he picked up in South Africa and is now healthy and keen to resume his Test career.

"Jonny Bairstow has been in England squads across the three formats without a significant break. This two-Test tour presents a good opportunity for Jonny to be rested.

"Jimmy Anderson will continue to work with Lancashire and the ECB so that he is ready for the start of the County Championship season leading into the Test series against the West Indies in June.

"Moeen Ali is still unavailable for Test selection. The selectors are in consistent dialogue with Moeen and he remains a valued player in England cricket."

The series starts at Galle on March 19 and that match, and the one that gets under way a week later at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo, are each worth a sizeable 60 World Test Championship points to the winners.

England squad to tour Sri Lanka: Joe Root (Yorkshire, captain), Dom Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Jack Leach (Somerset), Matt Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham, vice-captain), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).