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LONDON (Reuters) - England newcomer Moeen Ali is preparing to unveil a surprise should he make his test debut against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday - his doosra.
The Worcestershire all-rounder is set to play in the opening game of the two-match series, with captain Alastair Cook likely to call on Moeen's part-time spin bowling and that of top-order batsman Joe Root as England plug the gap left by the retirement of Graeme Swann.
Moeen says he is confident of his bowling ability and is considering using his doosra - a delivery that looks like an off-break but actually turns the other way - after practising it with his county team mate, Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
The 26-year-old has taken 139 first-class wickets at an average of just over 40 but told reporters that given the amount of bowling he had done for Worcester over the past three seasons, he had no concerns about doing it at test level.
"A lot of people haven't seen me bowl in the longer format so hopefully I can surprise a few people," Moeen said on Tuesday. "I'm pretty confident with my bowling.
"The doosra is coming along nicely. I'm really happy with it at the moment - the last 20 or 30 days I've worked my socks off bowling it.
"I'm not looking to fill Swann's boots. He has been a fantastic bowler. I'm just looking to bowl how I bowl. If I try to be someone else I won't be as good," added Moeen.
A measure of his self belief - shared by the selectors who look likely to name him alongside fellow debutants Sam Robson of Middlesex and Chris Jordan of Sussex - is that he should contemplate using his debut to unveil the unorthodox spin delivery.
And while the left-handed batsman who bowls right-arm off breaks has represented England in three one-day internationals and six Twenty20s, he is excited about the prospect of a full debut at the headquarters of English cricket.
"I don't think it gets better than this...hopefully to make your debut at Lord's," said Moeen. "I can't describe the feeling but it means a lot.
"I feel like I am ready. I thrive on this kind of situation."
Reporting by Neville Dalton, editing by Josh Reich