Law hopes sun shines on Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's outgoing coach, Stuart Law, has backed his team to bounce back from their 110-run defeat in the opening ODI at The Oval, and expects them to compete strongly in the remaining four matches of the five-match series.
Sri Lanka lost the series opener at The Oval on Tuesday in cold and clammy conditions that suited the England bowlers, in particular James Anderson. He claimed 4 for 18 including three wickets in his first three overs, as Sri Lanka stumbled to 15 for 4.
"We haven't lost that way in recent times. It's not the end of the world," said Law. "When you get walloped like that it gets a bit out of you. The boys had a chat about it and we are here to show tomorrow that we are not bad, and we deserve our ranking. We are the World Cup runners-up.
"The conditions really suited the seam bowlers of England the other night," he added. "We have got to combat that. Here, traditionally the wickets are seam-friendly and I think it looks pretty good to bat on [as well]."
However, Law admitted he had been disappointed with the manner in which Sri Lanka collapsed at The Oval. "You have a mental block regarding losing wickets at the start and all of a sudden it can be contagious. To be 15 for 4 on a very good batting wicket was well below par.
"The most disappointed that day was the dressing room. We are better than that and we are up for the challenge," said Law. "Even at 22 degrees the boys are still freezing cold. If you had been to Colombo, you can appreciate where they come from.
"It's a bit different when the sun doesn't come out a great deal. But when it comes, the change in the mood and the smile on the faces is good to see. If it's a nice and sunny day, I am sure the boys will enjoy the cricket."
Following the retirement of Sanath Jayasuriya and with Upul Tharanga serving a three-month ban for using a banned substance, Sri Lanka will bank on the vast experience of Mahela Jayawardene to open the innings in the rest of the five-match one-day series, with skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan.
"Mahela opened the innings in the Twenty20 game and he's going to take over that role again, a role he has done before and successfully. He's looking forward for it," said Law.
"At the moment we've got to win. You get judged on your performances. We would like to say that you have to get some youngsters in and groom them, but if you are not winning, [that can cause] problems.
"We see that we have to win the next game and Mahela, every time he has opened, has got a hundred or gone pretty close to it. So it's a straightforward choice," he said.
Jayasuriya's exit after just one match gives Sri Lanka the opportunity to test young Dinesh Chandimal as a middle-order batsman. "Chandimal will play his first international game on tour. He has done well for us in the past. He's got a hundred against India in Zimbabwe and he is an exciting young prospect. I am looking forward to watching him."
When questioned why he opted to move from Sri Lanka to Bangladesh, Law replied: "I am not allowed to answer those questions according to the team management. It's all about cricket tomorrow, thanks. If you read the papers you can gauge what's going on. If I could sit and talk, I will talk for hours and hours. But the management has instructed that we are only talking about the match tomorrow."