England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Rose Bowl June 15, 2011

Hosts aim to expose Sri Lanka's problems

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Match Facts

June 16-20, Rose Bowl
Start time 11.00am (1000GMT)

The Big Picture

It's been a strange Test series in many ways. Frequent interruptions by the weather and two matches that have drifted for large periods (except, of course, the stunning final session in Cardiff which gave England their 1-0 lead) means the contest hasn't really bubbled up. Now, at the final Test, Sri Lanka cling to the prospect of pulling off a drawn series while England have their sights set on establishing a clear margin between the teams.

The odds suggest the latter aim is more likely. Sri Lanka have been hit with the major loss of captain Tillakaratne Dilshan due to a broken thumb which will means Lahiru Thirimanne has to be drafted in for his debut and Kumar Sangakkara, reluctantly to say the least, resumes the leadership. Dilshan is so pivotal to Sri Lanka - as he showed with his 193 at Lord's - that it will take a mighty effort for the tourists to overcome his absence.

While the batting line-up has twice competed impressively in the first innings - which makes their capitulation for 82 even more surprising - they have not looked like bowling England out twice. The one chance they had to embarrass the hosts came on the opening day at Lord's with England 22 for 3 but the attack couldn't maintain the pressure. Although Dilshan's near double put pressure back on the home side a victory push always looked a little distant.

England, though, were some way off their best at Lord's and will want to put that right over the next five days. Such high standards have been set that the collective disappointment of the bowling last week caught many by surprise. James Anderson's return will bring a senior figure back to the attack, but this is an important week for Stuart Broad.

As it is for Andrew Strauss. Not that he should be feeling any undue pressure right now, but he was twice lbw to Chanaka Welegedara at Lord's and, given he only plays one format these days, won't want to endure too many lean series. Also, a scoreline anything less than 2-0 will be a missed opportunity for England.

A word, too, on the venue. Not much more than a decade ago the area now home to the Rose Bowl was home to grazing animals. It's been an impressive transformation into a fine venue. Unsurprisingly there were teething problems in the early years, but Rod Bransgrove is right to be proud of what has been achieved. Hampshire deserve a Test match fitting of the occasion.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

England DWWWL
Sri Lanka DLDDD

Watch out for...

James Anderson was sorely missed at Lord's as England's tall pace bowlers struggled to match his consistency. Ideally Anderson would have had at least a short run out before returning from a side strain, but is confident that he is fully recovered. With the likelihood of some cloud cover around Anderson could enjoy conditions on the south coast and reaffirm why he is worthy of consideration as the second-best pace bowler in the world after Dale Steyn.

Kumar Sangakkara has plenty on his plate. He hasn't exactly jumped feet first back into the captaincy after his departure from the role little more than two months ago. There is often more to these sorts of situations than straight cricket decisions, with outside influences common in Sri Lankan cricket. The other issue for Sangakkara is his form. He hasn't been able to improve on a poor record in England during this series, although 153 against Essex will have been a timely boost. In the absence of Dilshan he must lead from the front with the bat.

Team news

Barring any last-minute problems Anderson will slot back into England's side at the expense of Steven Finn who took wickets at Lord's but was expensive. After Kevin Pietersen's 72 in the second innings last week Strauss is the one batsman without a significant contribution in the series.

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 James Anderson

Lahriu Thirimanne is the favourite to replace Dilshan at the top of the order after his hundred against Essex, but Sri Lanka's other problem is how to take 20 wickets. Farveez Maharoof has been ineffective at No. 7 and with victory a must Sri Lanka could be better served by either Thisara Perera's extra pace or Suraj Randiv's offspin

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tharanga Paranavitana, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt) , 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 7 Farveez Maharoof, 8 Rangana Herath, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Chanaka Welegedara

Pitch and conditions

For a long time the Rose Bowl had a reputation as being a nightmare for batsmen, but the pitches have since bedded down and often provide plenty of runs. Sadly, it doesn't look like this Test will escape interference from the weather with Friday currently having the worst forecast.

Stats and trivia

  • The Rose Bowl becomes the 10th British Test ground with nine still currently active.

  • Eoin Morgan has scored the most international runs on the ground with 253

  • Sri Lanka have played two previous internationals at the ground - a one-day international during the 2004 Champions Trophy and a Twenty20 in 2006.

Quotes

"We are determined to make it 2-0 and finish the series off. There's been some good cricket played by both sides amongst the showers we've had but we want to build on what we've done so far."
Andrew Strauss

"Whether you lose 1-0 or 2-0 you've still lost a series, but if we scrap and perform the way we can, we have opportunity to tie series. We have to show no fear and be as positive as we can but at the same time execute all we've spoken about properly on the field."
Kumar Sangakkara

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | June 16, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    @Siddhant Dubey; "Graeme Swann is hugely overrated". So, there's no particular reason then why Swann is the number 2 bowler in the world today? LOL.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | June 16, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Neil Simpson your giggles will probably be stiffled soon and I share yorkslanka's opinion. Of course rankings are based on facts. Do you want them to be based on fiction? My Aunt Dahila purported an opinion that our village cricketing hero Bastian aged 72 was the best cricketer in the world. What does that say about opinion? I'm not a suporter of any country's cricket team rooting always for the underdog but to call Sl crap is a travesty of justice. These guys from humble beginings have won almost everything that the cricket world can offer. The FACT that they are not in the top bracket of test cricket is due to the unfair allocation of test matches given to them by the high and mighty ECB and the even more high and mighty Aussie board. Its not exactly like OZ and Old blighty who pay several hundred ashes test matches and swell their stats.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    My team for this test match. Paranawithana, Lahiru, Sanga, Mahela, Thilan, Prasanna, Thissara, Randiv, Rangana, Welagedara & Lakmal.

  • POSTED BY heat-seeker on | June 16, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    Go SL! You can beat this English team... you just need to fight hard and do full justice to your potential.

  • POSTED BY Quazar on | June 16, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    And good luck to both teams in this Test! I hope SL will be inspired by their daunting task, and rise to the occasion.

  • POSTED BY Quazar on | June 16, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    This should be about SL and England. But as @JJ dissed Zaheer Khan, I'm compelled to present some facts for folks to consider (Jimmy is no doubt terrific, but Zak is arguably even more skilful): Tests in 2010 - Zaheer Khan: 47 wkts in 9 matches @ Avg 21.97 and SR 39.8; Jimmy Anderson: 57 wkts in 12 matches @ Avg 22.96 and SR 48.7. (And remember that Anderson played several tests in swing-friendly England; as for ODI cricket, Zak was leading wkt-taker at the recent WC and led India to a win; Anderson had a nightmare)

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Graeme Swann is hugely overrated. He is like Michael Hussey (averaged above 80 first 3 years and then fell to 50 today), who is going through a purple patch, wait till 2013 and he will be just another off-spinner.

    Harbhajan Singh is a proven legend, won many games for India, played for 13 years, has 393 Test wickets and has got another 8 years left.

  • POSTED BY rockdworldxi on | June 16, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    England have never beaten india in the last 4 test series of which 2 were in india and 2 in england. In the last test series in england in 2007 india won the series and as far as odis are concerned india are far superior to england when sachin, sehwag, dhoni, yuvraj, gambhir and zaheer will be back and the test match series will be very well contested between the two sides but india will dominate the odi series

  • POSTED BY ARYA1411 on | June 16, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    Why most of the people are talking about Zak & Jimmy? It is a kind of debate that wont end nowhere. We have a game ahead of us and that is between Eng & SriLanka. And at the end of the 5th day, we will surely be able to have some answers regarding Jimmy & Co. Lets enjoy the cricket. (And Zak is far better than Jimmy :))

  • POSTED BY Sonamt on | June 16, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    "In which universe is Anderson next only to Steyn? His Strike rate, wickets per test and bowling avg all are inferior to that of Zaheer Khan. That too when Anderson has mostly played on bowler friendly conditions and Zaheer has bowled on flat pitches." - mrgupta

    Anderson averages 30.98 per wicket, with a strike rate of 56.8 and an average of 3.71 wickets per test.

    Zaheer averages 31.94, with a strike rate of 58.1 and an average of 3.47 wickets per test.

    So statistically mrgupta, Anderson is a better test bowler than Zaheer by any measure. In fact, even Anderson's economy rate is better.

    I, however, do not take statistics too seriously. I think both Jimmy and Zaheer are brilliant, underrated bowlers. Steyn is box office because of his pace, but he is not that much better than either of these two.

    I also think that both India and England are excellent test teams. Although I personally feel England are better, it is nowhere near being clear cut.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | June 16, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    @Siddhant Dubey; "Graeme Swann is hugely overrated". So, there's no particular reason then why Swann is the number 2 bowler in the world today? LOL.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | June 16, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Neil Simpson your giggles will probably be stiffled soon and I share yorkslanka's opinion. Of course rankings are based on facts. Do you want them to be based on fiction? My Aunt Dahila purported an opinion that our village cricketing hero Bastian aged 72 was the best cricketer in the world. What does that say about opinion? I'm not a suporter of any country's cricket team rooting always for the underdog but to call Sl crap is a travesty of justice. These guys from humble beginings have won almost everything that the cricket world can offer. The FACT that they are not in the top bracket of test cricket is due to the unfair allocation of test matches given to them by the high and mighty ECB and the even more high and mighty Aussie board. Its not exactly like OZ and Old blighty who pay several hundred ashes test matches and swell their stats.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    My team for this test match. Paranawithana, Lahiru, Sanga, Mahela, Thilan, Prasanna, Thissara, Randiv, Rangana, Welagedara & Lakmal.

  • POSTED BY heat-seeker on | June 16, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    Go SL! You can beat this English team... you just need to fight hard and do full justice to your potential.

  • POSTED BY Quazar on | June 16, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    And good luck to both teams in this Test! I hope SL will be inspired by their daunting task, and rise to the occasion.

  • POSTED BY Quazar on | June 16, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    This should be about SL and England. But as @JJ dissed Zaheer Khan, I'm compelled to present some facts for folks to consider (Jimmy is no doubt terrific, but Zak is arguably even more skilful): Tests in 2010 - Zaheer Khan: 47 wkts in 9 matches @ Avg 21.97 and SR 39.8; Jimmy Anderson: 57 wkts in 12 matches @ Avg 22.96 and SR 48.7. (And remember that Anderson played several tests in swing-friendly England; as for ODI cricket, Zak was leading wkt-taker at the recent WC and led India to a win; Anderson had a nightmare)

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Graeme Swann is hugely overrated. He is like Michael Hussey (averaged above 80 first 3 years and then fell to 50 today), who is going through a purple patch, wait till 2013 and he will be just another off-spinner.

    Harbhajan Singh is a proven legend, won many games for India, played for 13 years, has 393 Test wickets and has got another 8 years left.

  • POSTED BY rockdworldxi on | June 16, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    England have never beaten india in the last 4 test series of which 2 were in india and 2 in england. In the last test series in england in 2007 india won the series and as far as odis are concerned india are far superior to england when sachin, sehwag, dhoni, yuvraj, gambhir and zaheer will be back and the test match series will be very well contested between the two sides but india will dominate the odi series

  • POSTED BY ARYA1411 on | June 16, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    Why most of the people are talking about Zak & Jimmy? It is a kind of debate that wont end nowhere. We have a game ahead of us and that is between Eng & SriLanka. And at the end of the 5th day, we will surely be able to have some answers regarding Jimmy & Co. Lets enjoy the cricket. (And Zak is far better than Jimmy :))

  • POSTED BY Sonamt on | June 16, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    "In which universe is Anderson next only to Steyn? His Strike rate, wickets per test and bowling avg all are inferior to that of Zaheer Khan. That too when Anderson has mostly played on bowler friendly conditions and Zaheer has bowled on flat pitches." - mrgupta

    Anderson averages 30.98 per wicket, with a strike rate of 56.8 and an average of 3.71 wickets per test.

    Zaheer averages 31.94, with a strike rate of 58.1 and an average of 3.47 wickets per test.

    So statistically mrgupta, Anderson is a better test bowler than Zaheer by any measure. In fact, even Anderson's economy rate is better.

    I, however, do not take statistics too seriously. I think both Jimmy and Zaheer are brilliant, underrated bowlers. Steyn is box office because of his pace, but he is not that much better than either of these two.

    I also think that both India and England are excellent test teams. Although I personally feel England are better, it is nowhere near being clear cut.

  • POSTED BY yorkslanka on | June 16, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    @ neil simpson- SL had one bad session in the first test and that is what lost it for us..we played good cricket for the majority of the game including scoring 400 in damp bowler friendly conditions so lets get this into perspective..Yes england won but you are wrong to say sri lanka are crap,as i said before, we had one bad session and that cost is..that was a bad day at the office and as seen at lords, not the norm from us...what is interesting is that until the weather intervened, englands bowlers without anderson looked poor...

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | June 16, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    @Mr Gupta re.`In which universe is Anderson next only to Steyn? His Strike rate, wickets per test and bowling avg all are inferior to that of Zaheer Khan. `

    We`re all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. Anderson is better, if only slightly, on all 3 counts. Average 30.98, Zaheer 31.94. SR 56.8, Zaheer 58.1. Wks per test 3.71, Zaheer 3.47. Whether this means he`s a better bowler or not is debatable. Both at their best are excellent, although comparisons with Steyn are hard to justify.

  • POSTED BY RecordHunter on | June 16, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    @Man007 Go to this link, See how better you performed in Overseas than SL?..Both are almost same..India won 19 matches in last decade but for 67 year they could win only 20 matches ...SL also passing a same era that India has undergone....So nothing to blare

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;team=6;team=8;template=results;type=team

  • POSTED BY layya on | June 16, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    please please dear Indian fans just keep out of these articles and let SLkans and English to share their thoughts. You people always talk about how good indian cricketers are and how any other player fail to compete with them. I'm very sorry to break it to you guys, there are other nations who play cricket and very good at doing that. please backoff

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    @joshua: could you tell any of the "english youngsters" who has performed consistently???. And India have won the worldcup with a bunch of youngsters and veterans.. England have not won the worldcup even once.. And about zaheer khan, he can bowl in any conditions and dead pitches..how about your best bowler graeme swann and anderson??. they were smashed all around the park in subcontintental pitches. and you hope that you get five day test matches at england as the matches are always rain interrupted. england is over dependent on trott and cook. if they fail england may have tough times against the indian attack.. number 1 doesn't come easy.. when you perform consistently for few years, you can get to that number 1 rank..

  • POSTED BY Vijay_P_S on | June 16, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    With so much rain in the forecast, it looks like there won't be a result. I am not keeping my hopes high.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 7:24 GMT

    nks 1234 - you clearly do not understand cricket. invariably one team contributes to losing a match whilst the other team contributes to winning it. Test Matches are rarely so one sided that all the running is done by one team. Eng beat SL in the first test because they were good and SL were crap. Simples. If winning by an innings in effectively three days cricket is not convincing then find me one more convincing. As for Jimmy Anderson being the number 2 ranked seam bowler - the rankings are based on fact not opinion, next thing you know someone is going to say Harbajhan is better than Swann, and that would be a joke to keep me giggling for the rest of the season.!!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    Joshua Johnson. please get over yourself. The comment about England using India as a stepping stone to no 1 is premature and hilarious. Let Anderson and co. bowl day in day out in the sub continent and we shall see how good they are. Being over rated does not mean being better :-)

    Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge, fair point sir. I've never understood the player rankings so won't comment on them. Having said that, a player needs to be good in all the conditions to be called a great and I hope you'd agree that Zak is closer in this regard than Anderson or anyone else (other than Steyn of course).

  • POSTED BY Fast_Track_Bully on | June 16, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    @rana2000. The same Indian flat track bullies beat Eng in Eng and SA in SA. What happened to ur useless cricketers? Why they are not able to win a single match?

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    @joshua: could you tell any of the "english youngsters" who has performed consistently???. And India have won the worldcup with a bunch of youngsters and veterans.. England have not won the worldcup even once.. And about zaheer khan, he can bowl in any conditions and dead pitches..how about your best bowler graeme swann and anderson??. they were smashed all around the park in subcontintental pitches. and you hope that you get five day test matches at england as the matches are always rain interrupted. england is over dependent on trott and cook. if they fail england may have tough times against the indian attack.. number 1 doesn't come easy.. when you perform consistently for few years, you can get to that number 1 rank..

  • POSTED BY nwsk on | June 16, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    i think we have to give chance for chandimal. as a batsman. i think maroof is useless . so we can replacments chanidimal.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Herath must be included along with Wela and Lakmal. Randiv can be categorised as a batsman as well, in addition to his bowling. This is particularly, when Chandimal is not in good form.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    SL miss angelo mathews dearly, maharoof is hopeless. For the love of god plz replace maharoof with dinesh chandimul. Chandimul hasnt performed in last 2 tour games but this is test match he will step up to the big occasion like he dd in his 111 in the ODI he played

  • POSTED BY Truemans_Ghost on | June 16, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    Anderson is a very good test bowler. That wasn't true four years ago and his figures reflect that. But over the last couple of years he has. consistantly talent lots of eockets him AND away. Sure he is better at home than away but he plays half his cricket at home so that is no bad thing. He is s long way behind strung and is not a really great player but he is one of the best in the world at the moment and doesn't deserve the contempt he gets on here.

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | June 16, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    Noted another fanatical debate about Zak/Jimmy/Steyn - Sachin anyone?? Nothing short of a 2-0 win will be acceptable for Eng and they are lucky to be 1-0 nil ahead thanks to Cardiff. Eng needs to play with purpose to ensure a win and not hope for another Cardiff which is what I felt was plan A at Lords. Eng changes are Jimmy for Finn but Broad needs to do something with the ball. SL have slipped further down the hole with the loss of Dilshan and really your couldnt ask for a worse case scenario going in to the 3rd test. Their only savior will be runs and lots of it as I dont see them bowl out Eng twice or even comming close to it so a draw is the aim. They should consider 7/4 with a specialist batsman occupying Maharoof's spot. Randiv should play either way I reckon - there's not much to lose and they have tried everything else in the bowling dept and Randiv can bowl. Drop Herath who hasnt exactly looked like tearing through Eng. Mahela, Sanga and Thilan just have to deliver.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | June 16, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Yorkslanka..Thnx 4 your comments. If you look around politics and infighting between boards and players is pretty much universal. WI board are infighting with Gayle & other players. The holier than thou Aussie selectors are roundly condemned as viilains after sacking Katich, KP fought it out with the ECB and Moores and got sacked, and Pakistans Butt is at constant war with his players.Etc, etc. Sri Lankan cricket is no different but players must either adjust or leave the fold. Sangakarra really puts a cloúd on the Sri Lanka camp by showing his unwillingness to captain. If you dont lead with a hundred procent heart you are already 100 runs behind.An unwilling captain is a great handicap for any team.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Maharoof might perform better if you name the team Shire Lanca.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    When Welagedara was the best SL bowler against Middlesex, he was ignored for the 1st test. But he became the best bowler in the 2nd test. Randiv also ignored for the tests after he batted well against British Lions on a tough pitch. If not for his 76 n.o., SL wouldn't have won that match. Let's hope that SL selectors won't make mistakes as such, in the future.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    Samaraweera proved that he can cope with the swinging ball by scoring 58 in Cardiff. 7/4 combination must be considered and Randiv can be considered as a batsman after he became the top scorer against British Lions on a tough pitch as per Mahela, some time back. Unfortunately, Chandimal is out of touch and cannot be considered. Maharoof / Dilhara must be selected considering the nature of the pitch. If there is no grass it should be Dilhara and vice versa.SL must not throw away the wickets by hooking, etc. Must try to avoid or evade the rising deliveries, particularly over the stumps. SL must score over 600 to be safe. 1-0 series result will be far better for SL if not 1 -1.

  • POSTED BY nks1234 on | June 16, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    Zaheer is a bowler??No he is not.. Mohammad Asif is..ohh sorry Asif is not a bowler he is a fixer.

  • POSTED BY nks1234 on | June 16, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    @Joshua What wrong did anyone say??It was just an opinion by some1 that Anderson is not the best after Steyn..Steyn is miles ahead and for second spot there are many.Just 1 or 2 good seasons cant make Jamie the 2nd best. Grow up and learn to accept the facts. I know he is almost unplayable on his day but that wont make Jamie the so called 2nd best. England will use India as a step to climb the number 1 spot?Made my day with this joke. They have not been able to beat even SL convincingly. It was SL who lost the first test and not England who won.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    Sri Lanka will fight hard in this test I think. The batting has to be a little nervous after a couple of collapses though even if they were able to bat out a draw last test. If Anderson really is fit and Broad under pressure you could see another Sri Lankan collapse, otherwise this will be another rain affected draw and England will win 1-0.

    BTW they are talking about the current ICC bowling rankings regarding Anderson and Steyn. It wasn't an opinion it was a statement of fact in relation to the rankings. Khan is a couple of places below Anderson on the ICC bowling rankings. People please take that sub-continental chip off your collective shoulders.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | June 16, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    I hope Sri Lanka puts up a good fight. As for England, they need to have their bowlers not overly rely on Anderson.

  • POSTED BY Rajitha88 on | June 16, 2011, 0:58 GMT

    zahir khan is he bowler?????

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    Can everybody please stop talking about Zaheer Khan? He has nothing on either Steyn nor Anderson. What the Indians need to realise is that for once the spotlight is not on them. They mention Zaheer Khan whenever they can because they are threatened by the thought of England using Khan and the rest of the Indian team as a stepping stone to number 1 in world test match rankings. Please get over yourselves. Your team is old and none of your youngsters look anywhere near as good as the veterans. You should be worrying about becoming like West Indies: the once unbstoppable side now reduced to minnow status. I would like to focus on supporting England as they are my country and my side. They will defeat Sri Lanka and when they do there is no stopping them when India comes to England. You will have more than Anderson to worry about.

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 23:18 GMT

    Sri Lanka do well when there is really something to play for, either going for a win or trying to survive when pushed to the wall. If it is anything inconsequential, they lose focus and concentration. Hence, Cardiff. Here's hoping they will make a match of it at the Rose Bowl. Samaraaweera has to step up this time and be counted. With a bowling attack of all youngsters, including Dilhara :-) and seam-friendly conditions projected, one is wistful for Vaas.

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 15, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    In which universe is Anderson next only to Steyn? His Strike rate, wickets per test and bowling avg all are inferior to that of Zaheer Khan. That too when Anderson has mostly played on bowler friendly conditions and Zaheer has bowled on flat pitches.

  • POSTED BY 998ima on | June 15, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    Please no Maharoof no more , SL playing 6/4 combination with one passenger when they include Maharoof .Either play 5 or 4 full bowlers ,no point playing half cricketers. Since Dilshan not playing SL need depth in batting so should go with 7/4 combination with Chandimal at 7 . Yes Chandimal failed in practice matches but Kid is very talented and can be the next bid thing for SL .

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | June 15, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    SL has a big problem with Dilshan out. Not only was he playing the best of all the batsmen, but his bowling allowed them to play an extra seamer, usually a good move in England. Now they are going in with an inexperienced batsman in the top six and a tail which starts at #7 (whether it's Maharoof or Perera). The bowling hasn't looked like getting 20 wickets in a game and in fact has only got 22 in two games. If it's a flat pitch, they won't get England out; if the wicket is doing a bit, well, you saw what happened at Cardiff. @rana2000: what planet are you on? This side doesn't have Malinga or Murali in it and Dilshan is injured. England are the T20 world champions. Look at the two sides' last 5 tests. SL's last hurrah was the 2011 world cup and now they have to rebuild. England are already a top test side and getting better. I know you want to support your team, but get real; England are by far the better of these two teams and SL will be happy to lose the series only 1-0.

  • POSTED BY stationmaster on | June 15, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    I would have preferred to see Finn in for Broad, who's been way too expensive and hasn't threatened at all. Broad is surely under the microscope this test ?

  • POSTED BY Whitecastlekumar on | June 15, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Sri Lanka would be lucky if they bowled England out in at least one of the 2 innings in this test match. The spinners are probably the worst to have ever played in a Sri Lankan side. The seamers show some promise but they aint exactly in the class of Steyn or Wasim Akram. The batting would be a lot better without Samaraweera. Sangakkara is too good a player to keep failing. Mahela can improve on that 49 he got. Paranavitana looks in good form but Dilshan did look like the best of the lot. England's bowling attack is above average and i think jimmy Anderson will play a big role if it seams around a lot at the rose bowl.There is no way in the world Matt Prior should have scored a century in the last game. He is more of a slogger than a batsman.Sri Lanka's bowling lacks that killer instinct. If Malinga and Murali had played totally different series. However only if they HAD PLAYED.

  • POSTED BY CricketPissek on | June 15, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    rana2000 is spot on. Chandimal is like a deer in the headlights against pace bowling. I'm sick of people bigging him up so much after he scored a hundred against a depleted Indian attack in Zimbabwe. He has a long way to go before he deserves to play test cricket.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | June 15, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    "A word, too, on the venue. Not much more than a decade ago the area now home to the Rose Bowl was home to grazing animals".... made me laugh; is McGlashan referring to the time when Pietersen used to play for Hampshire??? But seriously folks, look at the betting odds; 12/1 on a Sri Lanka win. Mmm.... I wouldn't put £10 on that. SL got out of the Lords Test with a draw due to poor weather, a flat pitch and a Captain who played out of his skin. Sri Lanka's only hope of a draw this time is for those circumstances to line up again. I wouldn't bet on it.

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Did I see this correctly?

    "With the likelihood of some cloud cover around Anderson could enjoy conditions on the south coast and reaffirm why he is worthy of consideration as the second-best pace bowler in the world after Dale Steyn."

    Are they joking? Wonder what happened to Zak? He's as good as if not better than Steyn. The only thing is Steyn is fitter than Zak. I wonder if there will ever be a day when the Asian players will get their due credit and the English and Aussie cricketers will not be over rated so much!!

  • POSTED BY nimal183 on | June 15, 2011, 20:30 GMT

    This is not going to be a walk in the park for England, even without Dilshan. Still our batting line up is strong. All English fans say Srilankan bowlers can't take 20 wickets, how about England They couldn't take 20 wickets at lords!!! Cardiff is one off that can happen to any team and the conditions Favoured England. Lets see if England can bowl our batsmen twice in the next match at Rose bowl, But I have to accept that we need a champion bowler who can take wickets at crucial times, Until then we are going to find it hard to win test matches in countries like England, SA and Australia.

  • POSTED BY Cricket_is_soul on | June 15, 2011, 19:47 GMT

    No matter what happen, Srilanka is always a Bunny in Australia, SA and England. They can only dream about a test match win in sub continent and that too is very rarely against Pak or Ind. The fact is, they have not found a solution to create a sporty, bouncy spin track for 5 dAYS. They have pitches which wont suite any bowling attack for the 5days or a pitch wich detriates in the first day. Guess what sort of players you can broom in those conditions.

  • POSTED BY yorkslanka on | June 15, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    @lord emsworth: in relation to your comments, Sangakkara is right in what he says about the state of our national cricket board, they are puppets and are ruining our cricket..as a sri lankan, i would hate to think that he would turn his back on our national team completely by playing county/ipl cricket..i dont think its in his nature to betray his country to be honest... btw this isnt a criticism of your comments, just a reply. I enjoy your comments and think you are very fair in what you say so keep it up sir and i look forward to more comment debates with you in the future sir...

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 15, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    England has been fortunate to have won the first test match due to total lapse of concentration by SL bats causing a dramatic collapse.The 3rd test will not be a walk over for England as Strauss is dreaming of 2-0 series win. SL are more used to British conditions by now. SL must go with 2 spinners in Harath & Mendis & 3 pacers - instead of 4 pacers +1 spinner.This presents a more balanced attack. The absence of Dilshan will be a huge loss.This makes it mandatory for Sanga & Mahela to show up with big scores like Cook & Trott do for England.Tremlett has done a lot of talking about himself. SL has to bat well to keep Tremlett off the wickets chart. SL's greatest weakness has been that they were unable to capitalize on good start and letting England off the hook in batting. If they press home the early breaks, they can dismiss England for under 300 & be in a position to win.Cooik & Trott will find double spin attack more difficult to handle than all pace attack.Good Luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY RecordHunter on | June 15, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    Its needed to bring in Randiv at the expense of Maharoof tomorrow, We lost Dilshan, so that no spinnig option other than Rangana Herath..

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 15, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    DRamenaden: You don't know why Chandimal is not in the team? Look at his record in the practice games. It is pathetic. His performance so far in England does not match all this talk about incredible talent! I am hoping that he is not one of those Indian type flat trach bullies.

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 15, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    Sri Lanka are clearly the better cricketing side. They are far superior in T20 and 50 Overs cricket and are at least as good as England in test cricket. I hope SL will not lose the last test because that will not do justice to the balance between the two sides. Cardiff really was an anomaly and the real result between these two sides in test cricket should be a drawn series, or at worst, a 1-0 win for England (in England), which will be easily overturned during the return tour to SL.

  • POSTED BY Nathan_123 on | June 15, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    I am sorry for the Chandimal fans here. It's not about talent and star status. In cricket it's all about performing under pressure and puting the runs on the board. Well done to Thirimanne he grabed his opportunity and performed. Now he is in the Test team. Isn't that simple! If the whether stays good throughout the next 5 days it's going to be an huge embarrassment for Srilanka.

  • POSTED BY DwightR on | June 15, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    i really dont know why Chandimal is not being given a chance to replace Dilshan, he's such a pure talent and the next great star of our country. Also i know not alot of ppl will agree with me but since our bowling attack is so weak right now in these conditions we should have brought in Vaas after Cardiff for rest of this series. The way he is peforming in county it seems like English conditions suit his bowling, he would have performed much better than Maharoof while allowing him to retire with dignity as well just like Jayasuriya is doing..except unlike Jayasuriya we actually need Vaas help right now. but realistically Maharoof need to go for Perera, Perera offers more pace, bounce, and is an overall better player with more potential.

  • POSTED BY TeamSelector on | June 15, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    Sri Lanka have no choice but to go for a win, & to do that they need to be able to take 20 wickets. A solitary spinner will not do the trick, you need two. At the same time you cannot weaken the batting by playing five bowlers, so an all-rounder is needed @ #7. Maharoof was given a chance, but I think its Perera's turn now ...

    1 Tharanga Paranavitana, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt) , 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Rangana Herath, 9 Suraj Randiv, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Chanaka Welegedara

  • POSTED BY Truemans_Ghost on | June 15, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    Shame maharoof is struggling. People up in lancashire spoke Highly of him agree that broad needs to start justify his place. Unlike Strauss he hasn't the record to deserve indulgence. Here's to a good game of cricket and if you'll forgive me hopefully a close English win

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | June 15, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    Why the deuce make someone captain when that person doesnt want to? Mahela J could captain and so could experienced Samaraweera. Sangakarra's negative approach can have a demoralizing effect in the end. If he is not content with how cricket is run by his country for whatever reason its far better he confines himself to playing in the IPL only or for an Englsih county. He would be an instant draw in county cricket.

  • POSTED BY yorkslanka on | June 15, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    my sl team would be 1.para 2. thirimanne 3. sanga 4. mahela 5. prasana 6. chandimal 7. thisara 8. randhiv 9. herath 10. lakmal 11. welagedara.. i know chandimal has not had a great tour but samaraweera has done nothing and bringing in randhiv for fernando gives us more batting and another spinning option...We may miss the pace of fernando but some of his bowling was rueful in the last match...welagedara needs to continue to get strauss early...good luck SL we need a win

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    gud luck sl... hope for a better performance this time.. !!

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    maharoof is useless.......i dnt knw why they keep maharoof????????????????

  • POSTED BY REH223 on | June 15, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Where is kulasekara ???????

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    the outcome will be another draw and the decider will be the 5th day @ Cardiif where fortunes turned against the lions.England doesn't seem to have the sense of invincibility of da 90's aussies or the present Indian outfit.Looking forward to a series against India .Without DRS having to take 20 Ind wickets is a dawning task indeed.Best of luck England!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Why is Stuart Broad an automatic selection? i know he is a handy allrounder, but he has been miserable with the ball in his test career, all he does is bowl bouncers and gets hit for plenty. Also with Sri lanka why is there such a need to play maharoof? sure he may be called an "allrounder" but he cant take wickets or make runs in test cricket...he has done nothing in his 22 games , an average of 65 runs per wicket is horrendus, and his batting avg of 18 is no better, he is averaging just over 1 wicket per test match, when 20 wickets are needed how is his place justified when players like Chandimul and randiv have been benched all series. SL need an extra batsman, their keeper is not in the class of sangakarra, devilliers or gilchrist with the bat so it makes the batting even shorter. Chandimul should play instead of maharoof, randiv needs to play as well instead of mendis, fernando or lakmal seeing as their all bowling poorly its hard to pick "the worst" of the bunch

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  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Why is Stuart Broad an automatic selection? i know he is a handy allrounder, but he has been miserable with the ball in his test career, all he does is bowl bouncers and gets hit for plenty. Also with Sri lanka why is there such a need to play maharoof? sure he may be called an "allrounder" but he cant take wickets or make runs in test cricket...he has done nothing in his 22 games , an average of 65 runs per wicket is horrendus, and his batting avg of 18 is no better, he is averaging just over 1 wicket per test match, when 20 wickets are needed how is his place justified when players like Chandimul and randiv have been benched all series. SL need an extra batsman, their keeper is not in the class of sangakarra, devilliers or gilchrist with the bat so it makes the batting even shorter. Chandimul should play instead of maharoof, randiv needs to play as well instead of mendis, fernando or lakmal seeing as their all bowling poorly its hard to pick "the worst" of the bunch

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    the outcome will be another draw and the decider will be the 5th day @ Cardiif where fortunes turned against the lions.England doesn't seem to have the sense of invincibility of da 90's aussies or the present Indian outfit.Looking forward to a series against India .Without DRS having to take 20 Ind wickets is a dawning task indeed.Best of luck England!!

  • POSTED BY REH223 on | June 15, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Where is kulasekara ???????

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    maharoof is useless.......i dnt knw why they keep maharoof????????????????

  • POSTED BY on | June 15, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    gud luck sl... hope for a better performance this time.. !!

  • POSTED BY yorkslanka on | June 15, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    my sl team would be 1.para 2. thirimanne 3. sanga 4. mahela 5. prasana 6. chandimal 7. thisara 8. randhiv 9. herath 10. lakmal 11. welagedara.. i know chandimal has not had a great tour but samaraweera has done nothing and bringing in randhiv for fernando gives us more batting and another spinning option...We may miss the pace of fernando but some of his bowling was rueful in the last match...welagedara needs to continue to get strauss early...good luck SL we need a win

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | June 15, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    Why the deuce make someone captain when that person doesnt want to? Mahela J could captain and so could experienced Samaraweera. Sangakarra's negative approach can have a demoralizing effect in the end. If he is not content with how cricket is run by his country for whatever reason its far better he confines himself to playing in the IPL only or for an Englsih county. He would be an instant draw in county cricket.

  • POSTED BY Truemans_Ghost on | June 15, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    Shame maharoof is struggling. People up in lancashire spoke Highly of him agree that broad needs to start justify his place. Unlike Strauss he hasn't the record to deserve indulgence. Here's to a good game of cricket and if you'll forgive me hopefully a close English win

  • POSTED BY TeamSelector on | June 15, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    Sri Lanka have no choice but to go for a win, & to do that they need to be able to take 20 wickets. A solitary spinner will not do the trick, you need two. At the same time you cannot weaken the batting by playing five bowlers, so an all-rounder is needed @ #7. Maharoof was given a chance, but I think its Perera's turn now ...

    1 Tharanga Paranavitana, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt) , 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Rangana Herath, 9 Suraj Randiv, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Chanaka Welegedara

  • POSTED BY DwightR on | June 15, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    i really dont know why Chandimal is not being given a chance to replace Dilshan, he's such a pure talent and the next great star of our country. Also i know not alot of ppl will agree with me but since our bowling attack is so weak right now in these conditions we should have brought in Vaas after Cardiff for rest of this series. The way he is peforming in county it seems like English conditions suit his bowling, he would have performed much better than Maharoof while allowing him to retire with dignity as well just like Jayasuriya is doing..except unlike Jayasuriya we actually need Vaas help right now. but realistically Maharoof need to go for Perera, Perera offers more pace, bounce, and is an overall better player with more potential.