Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Preview: England vs Sri Lanka

This game is massive for both sides and especially England who have to face Australia on Sunday. England need the points more than Sri Lanka, although the Sri Lankans are conscious of the need to maintain high standards following their defeat to South Africa earlier on. Mahela Jayawardene will be banking on Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas to make early inroads into the fragile England top order. That top order could be boosted by the inclusion of Andrew Strauss for Ed Joyce, although England may give Joyce one final chance against meaningful opposition, to prove that he merits his place. The other selection issue concerns Sajid Mahmood who has so far failed to look threatening against even the minnows of the tournament. Liam Plunkett is the most likely replacement and he will feel agrieved at losing his place in the first place, as will Jon Lewis.

The key battle will likely be between Muttiah Muralitharan and the England middle order of Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff. England will be hoping for a repeat of Pietersen's reverse slog sweep for six off Murali in early 2006 and that they can maintain their excellent World Cup record against Sri Lanka, which currently stands at six victories to one. A tight contest will ensue.

Prediction: Against my head, I am saying England. I just have a feeling that if England can get Sanath Jayasuriya early then they can keep Sri Lanka under some semblance of control and hopefully he has just had his good game!

Players to watch: Kevin Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara.

1 comment:

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