Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Rampant England take aim at Sri Lanka. England's batters made light work of Australia's bowlers in the last game.
England's batters made light work of Australia's bowlers in the last game.
During the English summer, England beat Sri Lanka three-nil in a T20I series that was about as one sided as you will ever see in international cricket. Sri Lanka were hammered in all three games and got steadily worse, out of form and out of their depth. England barely broke a sweat. The Sri Lankan team on show at this World Cup has been a very different outfit, however, and should have beaten South Africa last time out. England may have pulverised Sri Lanka a few months ago but they will certainly not be taking this version of their opponents lightly.
Sri Lanka have played with far more flair and aggression in the World Cup than they managed during the summer. Their execution has been better too, although it has not, it must be said, been perfect. Having made a decent score against Australia, they then bowled and fielded awfully. In their last game against South Africa they made unforced errors – such as Charith Asalanka's run out – which allowed their opponents to stay in the game and then eventually win it thanks to David Miller's final over takedown of Lahiru Kumara. As much as they have improved, there remains plenty to still do.
Even so, Sri Lanka have the ability to cause England problems. Asalanka has been full of aggression at number three – he averages 47 at a strike rate of 142 – while Bhanuka Rajapakse and Wanindu Hasaranga have been similarly attacking in the middle order engine room. Unlike the three teams England have played so far, Sri Lanka are unlikely to suffer from a lack of batting intent.
With the ball, the Sri Lankans have genuine pace with Dushmantha Chameera and Kumara and high-class spin in the form of Hasaranga, who has 10 wickets in six World Cup matches, and Maheesh Theekshana, who has eight wickets in five. It is a well-rounded and varied attack for the conditions in the UAE but Sri Lanka's bowlers still need to improve their consistency. They also need their fielders to take their catches. Kusal Perera is still trying to work out how he dropped David Warner in Dubai.
Whether Sri Lanka can put together an all-round display to trouble an England team that has steamrollered all three of their opponents so far remains to be seen. The dismantling of Australia on Saturday evening (October 30) was about as comprehensive a performance as England have managed under Eoin Morgan's captaincy. Their three victories to date have been built on the quality of their bowlers but chasing down 125 against Australia inside 12 overs was a reminder of their batting prowess as well.
Certainly England are the favourites although Sri Lanka will be more accustomed to the conditions, having already played three matches at Sharjah. England, in contrast, have yet to play there in the tournament and must adapt to the slowest pitches in the tournament. They have also yet to bat first in any of their matches which may present them with a different challenge if Dasun Shanaka wins the toss and, as he surely will, bowls first.
There is unlikely to be any English complacency. Morgan is not a captain who takes his eye off the ball and a victory against Sri Lanka would seal their semi-final place with a game to spare as well as continue their winning momentum. On the other hand, Sri Lanka's routes to the semi-finals is far harder. They need to win their last two matches and get help from other teams if they are to make it out from Group 1.
When: England v Sri Lanka, Super 12 Group 1, 18:00 Local, 19:30 IST
Where: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
What to expect:The surfaces inSharjah have been the slowest out of the three tournament venues which has made batting tricky and led to par scores of around 140. Spin has understandably been hard to get on top of although that has largely been because of the low bounce; there hasn't actually been huge amounts of turn on display. Indeed, Eoin Morgan said that during the IPL, there was some variable bounce in Sharjah which actually helped the seamers more than the spinners. That could be a feature once again.
T20I Head-to-Head: England have won 8 of the 12 T20Is between the two countries, including three of the four times they have met at T20 WCs.
Injury/Availability Concerns:Morgan has said that England will not be rotating for the sake of it in the group stage which means that an unchanged team for the fourth consecutive game could be on the cards. Mark Wood and Tom Curran are continuing their recovery from injuries and could come into contention.
Tactics & Matchups: England's three spinners could once again have an important role to play, particularly given the slowness of the Sharjah pitches. Moeen Ali, who did not bowl at all against Australia after taking the new ball in England's opening two matches, could be used in the first six overs again given the two left-handers in Sri Lanka's top three.
Possible XI:Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Tymal Mills
Injury/Availability Concerns:Sri Lanka have a fully fit squad to choose from. The poor form of Avishka Fernando – 7 runs from his last three innings in the tournament – could mean he is replaced, perhaps by Dhananjaya de Silva.
Tactics & Matchups:Kusal Perera and Pathum Nissanka have opened in all six of Sri Lanka's matches so far but their highest partnership is just 20. Given England's bowling in the Powerplay has been so strong – 10 wickets in three matches – how Sri Lanka's openers fare could be crucial to the outcome of the game. England will certainly want the in-form Charith Asalanka in early.
Possible XI:Kusal Perera (wk), Pethum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando/Dhananjaya de Silva, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka (c), Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara
What they said:
“We're taking it a game at a time. Whatever has happened now has gone. That's in the past. So whatever lies ahead, definitely our minds are set on to that. We're taking it a game at a time. And next we have Sri Lanka… So we're definitely focused on that.” Adil Rashid says England are not getting carried away by their excellent start to the World Cup