With Steve Harmison having bowled only 16.3 overs in the warm-up games, it seems highly likely James Anderson will play in the First Test. But he would certainly be fortunate to play.
A pace attack of Anderson, Matthew Hoggard and Ryan Sidebottom has some variety - Sidebottom is a left-armer; Anderson is faster and skiddier; while both Hoggard and Sidebottom can bowl canny 'cutters'. However, it patently lacks a taller bowler which, considering Kandy has the most life of any of the three pitches, could hurt England.
Stuart Broad is surely more deserving of a spot in the final eleven than Anderson, who remains too inconsistent. Broad was far more effective in the victorious one-day series prior to the Tests. And he has shown himself to be fearless at international level, with the strength of his temperament confirmed by his fantastic riposte to suffering the ignominy of six 6s from Yuvraj Singh. Moreover, the maturity of his international batting to date, including twice seeing England to victory with vital innings, means he is the only one of the bowlers, save for Graeme Swann, who could do a good job at number eight.
Fletcher-esque thinking? Perhaps. But runs from the tail are undeniably vital and, in a situation where two bowlers are hard to separate, must count. With Matt Prior yet to convince at number seven, and the trio of bowling certainties ultimately no better than number 10s, England simply must be pragmatic. If they fail to be so, 250-4 could turn into 300 all-out with series-losing regularity.