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June 2, 2011
Match FactsJune 3-7, Lord's
The Big Picture
Conjuring victories out of nowhere is the hallmark of an outstanding cricket team and England is certainly one of those. Their thrilling effort to bowl out Sri Lanka for 82 in 24.4 overs on the final afternoon in Cardiff secured their fifth innings victory in seven Tests. Regardless of the frailties in Sri Lanka's batting, it was a mind-boggling performance from Chris Tremlett, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad.
It has set them up perfectly for the season and they will enter the second Test at Lord's with confidence soaring, especially as they started Cardiff with a hint of early-season rustiness to let Sri Lanka battle their way to 400. Then, though, things started slotting into place with a double-hundred from Jonathan Trott, another century for Alastair Cook and an effortless ton from Ian Bell.
The challenge now will be to refocus their energies and start afresh, but with the leadership of Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower that shouldn't be a problem. They see every success as just another stepping stone towards an ultimate goal. They will enjoy turning up at Lord's, too, because it's a ground where England have a strong recent record with three consecutive victories and no defeat since 2005.
The pitch is also likely to suit them with more pace than Cardiff which will benefit their batsmen and their three-pronged pace attack, that's set to be England's tallest ever with Steven Finn favourite to replace the injured James Anderson. It all adds up to a monumental task facing Sri Lanka if they want to regain pride. They've never won at Lord's, although on the last two visits have secured creditable draws, particularly in 2006 when they batted more than two days to save the game.
Although it was their batting which crumbled on Monday, it's the bowling that requires the most work because there will be no way back into the series if they can't take 20 wickets. They didn't even look like taking 10 in Cardiff and at 1-0 down there is no point being anything less than attacking in their mindset from here. That, though, is easier said than done when you've just been humbled for 82. The next five days will show us what this Sri Lankan team is really made of.
Form guide(Most recent first)
Sri Lanka LDDDL
Watch out for...
Kevin Pietersen made the headlines and filled reams of newsprint in the first Test and he only made 3. His dismissal, lbw to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, meant his mindset and form were once again being dissected. The pre-series bravado will count for nothing unless he starts scoring big runs consistently. Everyone from the coach to the captain to his team-mates are fully behind him, yet at some point time will run out. He averages 62.71 in Tests at Lord's, but Herath is already loosening up.
Mahela Jayawardene has a terrific record at Lord's with a hundred in each of his previous Test visits to the ground. Sri Lanka desperately need their senior middle-order batsman to fire and Jayawardene had a poor game in Cardiff with scores of 4 and 15, edging twice to first slip. However, he has the technique to withstand England's tall pace attack, and the home side will know they have suffered many long hours in the field at his hands before.
The one decision for England to make is whether Finn or Jade Dernbach replaces Anderson. All the indications are that it will be Finn even though Dernbach's fuller length and swing would complement the attack nicely. However, Lord's is Finn's home ground and in two Tests here he has 13 wickets.
England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Chris Tremlett, 11 Steven Finn
It was a positive move by Sri Lanka to promote Prasanna Jayawardene to No. 6, and it worked in the first innings at Cardiff when he made an excellent 112. But will they be spooked by how the match end? The temptation will be to play an extra batsman, but somehow they need to find wicket-taking bowlers. The return of Dilhara Fernando will be a bonus and Chanaka Welegedara, the left-arm seamer, should play to add variation.
Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 2 Tharanga Paranavitana, 3 Kumar Sangakkara , 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 7 Farveez Maharoof, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Chanaka Welegedara
Pitch and conditions
The good news after the often dreary weather in Cardiff is that the forecast for London is excellent over the next four or five days. Temperatures are set to hit the mid-20s and no rain is forecast. Interestingly, the Lord's pitch had a distinct tinge of green in the lead up to the game but most of that is expected to disappear by the first morning.
Stats and trivia
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"I don't think any of us want to take our foot off the pedal now. We've got some early momentum in this series. We've got to push on and keep challenging ourselves to get better and better."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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