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Andrew Fidel Fernando
May 27, 2014
Angelo Mathews was typically measured ahead of the third ODI at Old Trafford, but he did suggest Sri Lanka held an important edge on a surface he expected to be conducive to spin.
Sri Lanka have added Rangana Herath to the squad in place of injured Suranga Lakmal, taking their number of frontline spin options to three, with slow-bowling allrounder Chaturanga de Silva also in reserve.
Offspinner Sachithra Senanayake has been by some distance the most successful bowler in the first two matches of the series, collecting seven scalps at an average of 6.14. Ajantha Mendis is the other spinner Sri Lanka may call on.
"The Manchester wicket looks pretty similar to a subcontinent wicket," Mathews said. "It might play a little bit slow. We can't control the conditions and the weather, but what we can control is our attitude and our focus.
"Our spinners have bowled pretty well in whatever conditions. Rangana was injured before we picked the squad. Now that he's fit, given the way the Manchester pitch looks, we thought of adding Rangana. We've got enough cover in our pace attack, but we needed another spinner. Now we've got plenty."
Sri Lanka lost the first ODI, but both their batsmen and bowlers had seemingly mastered England's conditions at Chester-le-Street on Sunday, when they inflicted a 157-run defeat on the hosts. After that win, Mathews said Sri Lanka would take confidence from that performance, but maintained his side had not lost sight of the bigger picture.
"It was a great victory, but we've got to keep our heads level and we can't be complacent against the English team. They can bounce back really hard at us.
"I think senior guys like Dilshan, Mahela, Sanga and Lasith - they all know how to handle situations and they've been through it so many times. We all talk to each other. We're like a family. It has to be a level-headed series for us right throughout, but we've got to play some positive, aggressive cricket."
Cold rain has been among the challenges for Sri Lanka so far. The forecast suggests Manchester may deliver both on Wednesday, with rain predicted for much of the day and the temperature not expected rise above the mid-teens. "Cold weather is cold weather," Mathews said. "It's pretty hard, but I think the boys are doing great. Hopefully the sun will be out for the rest of the series."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernandoFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge