Worcestershire pace bowler, Josh Tongue, spoke of his pride after emulating Jack Haynes in winning his first England Lions Test cap during the current tour of Sri Lanka.
Tongue picked up the first wicket to fall after coming on first change on a weather-hit day one of the second Test in Galle.
He received his cap before the start of play from Rob Key, the ECB Managing Director of England men’s cricket.
Haynes had been handed his cap by former England batter Ian Bell before the opening Test at the same venue last week.
Tongue had been selected on three previous occasions by the Lions and had to withdraw each time through injury.
But today was a reward for all the hard work put in to recover from a shoulder problem.
He entered the attack at 34-0 and struck in his third over when Tom Abell caught Nishan Madushka for 22 with 59 on the board.
Tongue’s opening two spells consisted of four overs apiece and figures of 4-0-17-1 and 4-1-21-0, and he ended the day with 10.3-1-45-1 as Sri Lanka closed on 190-3 from 44.3 overs.
Tongue said: “I’m very proud to get this Lions cap, especially after the journey I have been on from my injuries.
“To play for the Lions is a very special thing for me, and hopefully, there is more of it to come.
“When I first got the call to be selected for the Lions I was a bit taken aback. With my shoulder, I didn’t know exactly where I was, but to now play for the Lions is an amazing feeling. It is just so good to be back and playing.
“It was nice to get an early pole (wicket) under my belt, which helped to take some nerves away. The pitch is flat. It did a little bit early on, but otherwise, it is a flat pitch.
“If we can get a couple of wickets early in the morning, you never know what we could get them out for.
“We just have to keep hitting our lines and lengths. We’ve got to try and be as boring as we can on a flat pitch, and that’s where they can make a mistake and get our rewards. Patience is the key going forward for tomorrow.”
Tongue has revealed the importance of working with Worcestershire Head Coach Alan Richardson during the winter.
He said: “Killer (Neil Killeen) is speaking with Alan Richardson back at Worcestershire. I had been working with him over the winter on quite a bit of technical stuff.
“I am now just trying to take that into the games so that I can be in the best possible place for game situations.
“Myself and Alan (Richardson) get on really well. I was really pleased for him when he got the Head Coach role, and I’m looking forward to working under him.
“There are good times to come for Worcestershire, I’m sure.”
Haynes was not included in the side for the second Test after scores of 16 and 43 in the opening encounter.
*Worcestershire Rapids 2023 Vitality Blast overseas signing Michael Bracewell has been included in the New Zealand for the two-Test series against England at Tauranga (February 16 to 20) and Wellington (February 24 to 28).