Eoin Morgan was named on Sunday in England's squad for the first Test with Sri Lanka, getting a surprise nod ahead of Ravi Bopara to replace the recently retired Paul Collingwood in the middle order.
While successive centuries in first-class games for Essex had made Bopara many pundits' favourite, the selectors instead opted for 24-year-old Morgan after he scored 193 for the England Lions earlier this week against Sri Lanka.
"We believe we have selected a very strong squad for the first Test," national selector Geoff Miller said in a statement.
"Eoin Morgan impressed us last summer when he was given his opportunity in the test side and has worked hard on his game throughout the tour of Australia and now has the opportunity to play a role in the test team," he added.
Morgan was a member of the Ashes-winning squad but was not selected to play in any of the five tests in Australia.
England, who have set their sights on the world number one spot having risen to third, also picked Steven Finn ahead of Ajmal Shahzad as the reserve pace bowler in their 12-man squad with Tim Bresnan injured.
The opening match of the three-Test series at Cardiff starts on Thursday.
Test squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, James Anderson, Steven Finn.