Mathews wary of England, conditions
Sri Lanka are yet to lose an ODI in 2014, but captain Angelo Mathews remains circumspect, marking out key England players and foreign conditions as the primary threats as his team embarks on a five-match series on Thursday. Sri Lanka have been in Ireland and the UK since the first week of May but failure to acclimatise to both the seaming pitches and the cold has cost the team on past tours.
"We have prepared well, and started training back at home early, because we knew the conditions were going to be tough for us," Mathews said. "The English team is always very hard to beat on home soil. In the T20, they gave us a really good fight, and it was a very close game.
"There will be a couple of experienced guys - James Anderson and Alastair Cook - joining their team, and it will make it even harder for us. Alastair and James are very experienced campaigners, and offer a lot to the English team, but we're prepared for that. We all know James is a very good bowler. But we're not concentrating on any one individual. They have a bowling line-up who can run through a batting order."
Coach Marvan Atapattu was more assertive in his assessment of his team's position, suggesting the T20 win on Tuesday had set Sri Lanka's tour off apace while England continued to falter, on the back of an abysmal winter.
"The T20 win was a morale-booster," Atapattu said. "We always had confidence coming from a World Cup victory. We needed that win to tell ourselves that we are good enough to compete against these guys on their home soil.
"We believe if we play our best cricket, we can put any team under pressure. From England's point of view, they have gone through a couple of shaky series and have a new management and a couple of new players. But we are most concerned with how we perform in English conditions to meet the challenge."
Sri Lanka have aimed for explosive starts to their limited-overs innings this year, with both Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera having been given the licence to attack. That tactic has been effective for Sri Lanka in England in past years, most notably in Sanath Jayasuriya's blitzkriegs in the 2006 ODI series, which Sri Lanka won 5-0.
"Not too many batsmen have done it as consistently as Sanath did," Atapattu said, "but I won't be surprised if somebody hits form. Why not? With field restrictions, fast outfields and good pitches, batsmen have more chances to be like Sanath these days.
"Modern-day cricket encourages and needs someone to be explosive. But it has to come naturally to you, be inherent. It's not something you can bring out in a day or two. We are lucky to have people like Dilshan or Kusal."
Sri Lanka have hired Surrey coach and Sussex captain Chris Adams for the tour, to help give insight into the conditions, and the opposition, and the move has paid good dividends, Mathews said.
"We've got a lot of information from him - especially the ground conditions, the wickets. We are trying to get as much as we can from him, because he's been playing the game for so many years in counties."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando