England v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Old Trafford May 27, 2014

Herath offers Sri Lanka third spin threat


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. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pinidiya on May 28, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    A need of a solid opener, who has mastered these conditions PROVED yet again. Losing the first wicket inside 2 or 3 overs was the most SHOCKING feature of this tour. In 2nd ODi Dilshan managed to absorb the presuure and played a long inning, which made the difference. As I have pointed out in my previous postings, Dilshan's natural capabilities are different & hee needs support from the other opener to bloom. Missing a main ingredient in our winning formula is always going to be hard..!

    Success behind the 5-0 rubbing against Eng in these seaming, bouncy conditions was Opener Tharanga, His average stay at the wicket is 26.2 Overs!

    Tharanga had averaged over 80 STRIKE RATE (he has a fine career S/R 74) He had the HIGHEST Batting Average 69.4 with 2 x100s 120 R - 76.92 S/R v Eng-Lord's (Thar 48.4 ov) 17 R- 56.66 S/R v Eng-Oval (Thar 9.0 ov) 41 R - 95.34 S/R v Eng-Chester-(Thar 16.4 ov) 60 R- 75.00 S/R v Eng -Manchester (Thar 24.5 ov) 109 R- 106.86 S/R v Eng-Leeds (Thar 31.5 ov)

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    lol. Even with my changes we would have had no chance. 67 all out. What a horrible series this must be for the fans.

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    Surprisingly Chandimal seems to be effective in bouncy tracks so, I will retain him n might even consider sending him up the order. Mahela should open with Dilshan and Thirimanna should be sent in at 4 or 5. Its also good that Herath has come in. Dilshan, Mahela, Sanga, Chandimal, Thirimanna, Mathews, Priyanjan, Senannayake, Kulasekara, Herath, Malinga

  • sri on May 28, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    SL should take extra care to win the 3d odi as otherwise their last win would be labelled as a flash in the pan and towards this goal they should omit Thirimanne who ate up 6 solid overs for only 10 runs.They should bring in Kusal and drop chandimal in favour of Thisara.But the trump card should be the inclusion of Herath who even in the remote eventuality of not taking a wicket would still justify his inclusion by bowling his quota of overs very economically. Hope the weather stays reasonable so that SL will at least be marginally comfortable in the biting cold which affects performance of the sun loving Sri Lankans. Go the Lions- Show the poms what you are made of.

  • Dinesh on May 28, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Bring in Kituruwan Vithanage, he's good, send Chandimal back to SL net Practises.

  • Leonard on May 28, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    @ Ajith Gunesekera - You must be an Englishman posing as a Sri Lankan, because only the English want Chandimal to play. His record over the past 2 years has been putrid, to put it mildly. People keep on harping on the fact that he is a "good batsman" but I have yet to see it. He may be good for 1st Class cricket, but has failed miserably at International level and must be sent home as he is depriving another individual of an opportunity.

  • Micah on May 28, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    Ashan Prinyanjan has such a woeful technique im quite surprised how it got past the selectors. Some of the shots he plays are what you see in the school yard not on NT.

    Chathuranga de silva is a better player and should be given a chance. He has this aggression which you don't see in many of the players, would have a good impact coming late.

  • ESPN on May 28, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    Where is Kusal perera . He is a great potential batsman . We need to groom him . Poor selection .

  • Prabath on May 28, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    DreamCricketer: I have been saying this so many time that Chandimal should be dropped from all formats of first class Cricket and he should focus on domestic club cricket. They should bring Tisara Perera and Tirimanne should come 2 or 3 down the order. Chandimal's days are just numbered and not sure how he's still surviving in the team.

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2014, 2:31 GMT

    No.No. Don't drop Chandimal. He is a very good batsman. SL did not give him opportunity to bat.

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