The England captain says that Buttler will retain the gloves in Sri Lanka, but 2021’s hectic schedule will bring tougher tests

If Test cricket is on the retreat then nobody appears to have told England. Their forthcoming series in Sri Lanka begins a year of 17 Test matches, a total chalked up just once before, in 2016, and that eventually resulted in an exhausted Alastair Cook calling time on his captaincy.

Should Joe Root lead throughout 2021 he will have done so 61 times in all, passing Cook’s record of 59. Fitness permitting that is very much the plan, too: while other players will sit out Tests during a 12-month period that also features up to 28 bilateral white-ball games and a T20 World Cup, Root intends to sit out only some of the short stuff.

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