JONNY Bairstow, if fit, should regain the wicketkeeping gloves for England’s second Test against Sri Lanka in Kandy on Wednesday.

That is the view of Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale after competition behind the stumps increased with centurion Ben Foakes’ man-of-the-match debut in last week’s first Test victory in Galle.

Bairstow is closing in on a return from the ankle injury which ruled him out of the closing stages of the limited overs series last month.

Opinion is split over whether the White Rose star should come back in as a wicketkeeper or just a specialist batsman.

Prior to the emergence of Foakes, the same question was being asked with limited overs keeper Jos Buttler also in the side as a batsman.

However, Gale is very much in 29-year-old Bairstow’s camp, saying: “Jonny has never shown any signs of wanting to step away from keeping wicket. He’s always said ‘I want to keep’.

“He’s been pretty adamant about that whether playing for Yorkshire or England. He’s said that ever since he came into the first team with us. Nothing’s changed.

“From my point of view, Jonny has earned the right to keep wicket.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong. His keeping is outstanding. He hasn’t made many mistakes over the last few years.

“When he first came into the team, he was nowhere near the finished article, but he’s worked hard and is a fantastic gloveman. Just because someone comes in and does well for one game, I don’t think that should be taken away from him.”

But Gale does not envy the call ahead of captain Joe Root and coach Trevor Bayliss.

“You can’t drop a guy (Foakes) who has just scored a fantastic hundred and got man of the match,” he continued. “So someone else will have to miss out.

“How they do that is a problem I don’t have to think about. I’ll let the guys on the big cash sort that out!”

With three keepers in England’s team alongside young gun Ollie Pope waiting in the wings, the hierarchy are not short of options. It is not inconceivable that the gloves could be shared around from Test to Test depending on things like workloads and conditions.

Gale is not a fan of that approach.

“I think continuity is key,” he said.

“Like I said, Jonny has earned the right over a period of time to take the gloves. He knows he will be under pressure more than ever with someone breathing down his neck.

“And he has probably felt that pressure since Buttler’s been in the team as well.

“But he’s soaked it up and done a great job. Until he hits a bad patch of form, Jonny takes the gloves all day long.”

Gale still had high praise for Foakes, who helped England recover from 103-5 at the start of day one with a superb 107.

“I thought Foakes batted brilliantly,” he said. “He came in at a tough time after a wobble and played with great maturity. He looked the part.

“He’s scored runs consistently, and I’ve been a great admirer of his for a few years. He’s really come into his own since he moved from Essex to Surrey.”

Gale also believes Yorkshire star Root is “growing into the role” of captain after a mixed first 18 months in charge and is hoping to see more of the same from England this week.

He added: “Winning away from home in any country is hard these days. Conditions are so diverse.

“Particularly, to win a Test on the sub-continent is hard work. It was only a couple of winters ago that they were in Bangladesh and India and getting bullied.

“They’ve put a lot of work in and got players whose games are set up for it over there. Someone like Keaton Jennings, you can see he has a good solid game plan against spin. He sweeps well.

“It was a fantastic win not to be under-estimated. Let’s hope they back it up.”