Sri Lanka in England 2014 June 9, 2014

Sri Lanka out to settle grudges

Accustomed to dealing with disturbances, Sri Lanka's siege mentality and desire to win has grown stronger with each English antagonism
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Who is Sri Lanka's greatest cricketing rival? There was once a clear winner but the now the answer lies in shifting sands. Australia had been cast as arch-villain in Sri Lanka's cricket adolescence and there are still many fans who savour wins over Australia most, if only for their enduring scarcity.

In recent years, matches against India have evoked the strongest emotions. Once the island's older brother, India has been re-imagined as a bully by some. But, at this present minute, neither India nor Australia are Sri Lanka's most coveted target. Following months of skirmishing in board rooms, on the field and in the media, the Tests against England have become a quest for justice.

Sri Lanka have the limited-overs series in the bag but, with the ODIs having built to a fever pitch, a victory at Lord's or Headingley would by some distance be the sweetest of the tour. For a side that does not often engage in on-field aggression, and whose tempers run steadier than most, this is about as heated as it gets.

Sri Lanka's quarrels with England are many. There was Sri Lanka's abstention as tensions ran high over the 'Big Three' plan for the ICC in Singapore in February, but of more immediate consequence to the players has been Paul Farbrace's move to England. The players have refused to blame Farbrace, who was a popular and effective coach in his short time in charge, but resentment still lingers at the timing of his departure.

"I understand the choice Farby made," Kumar Sangakkara had said ahead of the ODIs. "Whether it was fair of the ECB to put him in that situation when he was still with us is a different question. It wasn't pleasant."

There were hints of insider knowledge in England's mode of attack in the ODI series, particularly in the manner they targeted Sri Lanka's young batsmen, even if the team came through that scrape okay.

Sri Lanka are less secure in the Test arena and it is here Farbrace has most scope to confer an advantage. Just months ago, he was in meetings about the aspects of Sri Lanka's cricket they must aim to sharpen up. He has seen techniques and temperaments at an intimate distance. He knows which loose strings to tug on to make the whole fabric unravel.

The questions raised over Sachithra Senanayake's bowling action have also irked the side. When they learned of his being reported by the match officials, the team wondered again about the timing. Senanayake has played international cricket without issue for two years. These kinds of things happen in "certain parts of the world", captain Angelo Mathews said on the subject.

More accustomed to staving off homegrown disturbances, the team has long learned to thrive within a siege mentality. They are more desperate for success now than they were a week ago

Whether or not Senanayake's action is legal remains to be seen but there has almost certainly been more scrutiny and suspicion in England than he had previously had on any other tour. Mahela Jayawardene later revealed how the team had closed ranks around Senanayake, setting up a team dinner in his honour. "It was definitely a big motivating factor," he said.

The sides also remain at odds over Senanayake's Mankading of Jos Buttler at Edgbaston. Days later, some England players maintained Sri Lanka had played unsporting cricket, while Sri Lanka's players have shown no sympathy for Buttler, or remorse. More accustomed to staving off homegrown disturbances, the team has long learned to thrive within a siege mentality. They are more desperate for success now than they were a week ago.

But desire alone will not bring success when so much inexperience abounds. The likely openers have fewer than 20 Tests between them and not one pace bowler in the squad has more than 20 matches to his name. Dimuth Karunaratne will face a stern test of his technique, if he gets to play, while Shaminda Eranga has the opportunity to crystallise the promise his sharp seam bowling has so far suggested.

Mathews is also leading the Test side outside Asia for the first time. His handling of the limited-overs sides has been astute, but there have been damaging moments of conservatism in the long format. Mistakes are perhaps inevitable for a captain so young. A heartening scoreline in this series would see Mathews quell doubts and entrench himself fully as Sri Lanka's long-term leader.

He had been in fine rhythm with both bat and ball in the ODIs and his batting, in particular, may prove crucial if England get the green tracks they have reportedly requested, and the top order is laid low early. In Tests against Pakistan this year, Mathews had unveiled both an appetite for circumspect rebuilding and for large scores.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene, though, have been through it all before. They have been in sides that have triumphed in foreign conditions, and others that have been blanked. They know how the team can draw from collective frustration, and they know at which point such feelings become destructive.

The pair arrive now at their final opportunity to redress mediocre Test records in England. A Test series win here has eluded both men as well. They will hope to leave the country with more than just a litany of grievances.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greatest_Game on June 12, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    @ Nutcutlet. RE your observations, I have had just the same problems as a SL supporter. Initially I thought pitching it up was the problem, but I now have no doubts that whatever the ball, snorter to yorker, its not the delivery. If you follow the cricinfo commentary of the SA vs Pak tests last year, Irfan was seen to overstep again & again without a no-ball called. In the same match, Philander got the call with his foot clearly behind the line. Some bowlers get a lot of leeway, & others don't even have to overstep.

  • RohanMarkJay on June 11, 2014, 19:52 GMT

    Best of Luck Sri Lanka. Hope you win the test series.

  • Rawanaa on June 11, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    England won 2 odis because of Farbrace factor... Thats how England began their new era... It is a gift from Srilanka & share it with Farbrace

  • Urajapakse on June 11, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    Yes, I do not agree with Andrew too. SL is a much better, civilized country than "settling their grudges on the field".

    No, definitely not SL, we have much better values than those who thought us cricket, FORTUNATELY.

  • Greatest_Game on June 11, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    As a Saffa some might think I'd like to see SL softened up before their series with SA. However, for all the reasons Andrew lays out in this well structured & written article, I'm hoping SL take the series.

    Any of the so-called "big 3" conceding a series to the "disenfranchised 7" makes mockery of the 'new order,' but the post Ashes scapegoating of Pietersen & continued public derision of him, Eng's players silence on that issue, Cook's response to Buttler's run-out, & Eng's recruitment of Fabrace mean a SL win will be welcomed by previously neutral fans. Eng's players, highly paid & supported by a massive backroom, have clearly disillusioned & polarized cricket followers, & few now remain neutral when they compete.

    SL cricketers, (like Pak's,) unpaid for periods & with little support, have maintained their dignity, & good sportsmanship, triumphed over adversity, & conquered all in the World T20. They have truly earned all the respect & support they deserve.

  • on June 11, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    @JW76. When?

    Cricket, like most sports has NEVER been about building bridges and healing rifts. The odd game/series here or there sure, but in general;, right since it began - it's been a conflict substitute played to win and "gamed" hard. 1920'and 1950's post war fiction romanticized the game a bit, and during those post war years there were sports of all kinds played to heal wartime wounds, but they were the exception, not the rule.

  • TheKeeper on June 11, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    I think Sri Lanka have a fair chance of winning this series 1-0. I seriously do. Like Nasser Hussain said, Sri Lanka play very "street smart" cricket and have an aptitude to make the right moves at the right time; reading game situations early and playing accordingly. I'm hoping for a Lankan win.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 11, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Win the toss bat first and put on over 450 like Black Caps have done in the current test against WI. Otherwise there is no chance for SL to even make it a draw. The current bowling attack is not good enough to take 20 wickets. Most SL can do is drawn series. y prediction is 2 nil easy win to Poms.

  • Dhushan on June 11, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    It would be simply fantastic if SL can win atleast 1 match. Lords would be a relatively easier pitch than Leeds, but it would still be pretty tough.A series win is probably going to be too much to ask, but let's take 1 test at a time. Kaushal, Dimuth, Sanga, Maiya, Thiri, Anga, Prasanna, Kule, Rangana, Eranga, Wele. Come on lads!

  • Lion_96 on June 11, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    I can remember as a kid, growing up in the 90s, we loved to win against Australia (primarily due to the controversies in the 1995/96 tour). We always enjoyed beating India (and hated losing) since they are our neighbours. Neigbours dont like losing to each other (just ask a Kiwi, who they hate to lose). There have been controversies with England in the past (did not get a full Test Tour untill 2002, 1999 match in Adelaide) and ofcourse we colonized by them for over two centuries. So add the fact(s), that Paul Farbrace switiched camps weeks before this tour, Senanayke called for throwing, Buttler being Buttlered and the lack of hand shakes at the end of the match...and well victories against England are going to taste alot sweeter. But as far as the Test Series is concerned, England are favourites. Sri Lanka have to play really well to win this series, but they will take alot of confidence from the ODIs and the T20.

  • Greatest_Game on June 12, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    @ Nutcutlet. RE your observations, I have had just the same problems as a SL supporter. Initially I thought pitching it up was the problem, but I now have no doubts that whatever the ball, snorter to yorker, its not the delivery. If you follow the cricinfo commentary of the SA vs Pak tests last year, Irfan was seen to overstep again & again without a no-ball called. In the same match, Philander got the call with his foot clearly behind the line. Some bowlers get a lot of leeway, & others don't even have to overstep.

  • RohanMarkJay on June 11, 2014, 19:52 GMT

    Best of Luck Sri Lanka. Hope you win the test series.

  • Rawanaa on June 11, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    England won 2 odis because of Farbrace factor... Thats how England began their new era... It is a gift from Srilanka & share it with Farbrace

  • Urajapakse on June 11, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    Yes, I do not agree with Andrew too. SL is a much better, civilized country than "settling their grudges on the field".

    No, definitely not SL, we have much better values than those who thought us cricket, FORTUNATELY.

  • Greatest_Game on June 11, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    As a Saffa some might think I'd like to see SL softened up before their series with SA. However, for all the reasons Andrew lays out in this well structured & written article, I'm hoping SL take the series.

    Any of the so-called "big 3" conceding a series to the "disenfranchised 7" makes mockery of the 'new order,' but the post Ashes scapegoating of Pietersen & continued public derision of him, Eng's players silence on that issue, Cook's response to Buttler's run-out, & Eng's recruitment of Fabrace mean a SL win will be welcomed by previously neutral fans. Eng's players, highly paid & supported by a massive backroom, have clearly disillusioned & polarized cricket followers, & few now remain neutral when they compete.

    SL cricketers, (like Pak's,) unpaid for periods & with little support, have maintained their dignity, & good sportsmanship, triumphed over adversity, & conquered all in the World T20. They have truly earned all the respect & support they deserve.

  • on June 11, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    @JW76. When?

    Cricket, like most sports has NEVER been about building bridges and healing rifts. The odd game/series here or there sure, but in general;, right since it began - it's been a conflict substitute played to win and "gamed" hard. 1920'and 1950's post war fiction romanticized the game a bit, and during those post war years there were sports of all kinds played to heal wartime wounds, but they were the exception, not the rule.

  • TheKeeper on June 11, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    I think Sri Lanka have a fair chance of winning this series 1-0. I seriously do. Like Nasser Hussain said, Sri Lanka play very "street smart" cricket and have an aptitude to make the right moves at the right time; reading game situations early and playing accordingly. I'm hoping for a Lankan win.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 11, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Win the toss bat first and put on over 450 like Black Caps have done in the current test against WI. Otherwise there is no chance for SL to even make it a draw. The current bowling attack is not good enough to take 20 wickets. Most SL can do is drawn series. y prediction is 2 nil easy win to Poms.

  • Dhushan on June 11, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    It would be simply fantastic if SL can win atleast 1 match. Lords would be a relatively easier pitch than Leeds, but it would still be pretty tough.A series win is probably going to be too much to ask, but let's take 1 test at a time. Kaushal, Dimuth, Sanga, Maiya, Thiri, Anga, Prasanna, Kule, Rangana, Eranga, Wele. Come on lads!

  • Lion_96 on June 11, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    I can remember as a kid, growing up in the 90s, we loved to win against Australia (primarily due to the controversies in the 1995/96 tour). We always enjoyed beating India (and hated losing) since they are our neighbours. Neigbours dont like losing to each other (just ask a Kiwi, who they hate to lose). There have been controversies with England in the past (did not get a full Test Tour untill 2002, 1999 match in Adelaide) and ofcourse we colonized by them for over two centuries. So add the fact(s), that Paul Farbrace switiched camps weeks before this tour, Senanayke called for throwing, Buttler being Buttlered and the lack of hand shakes at the end of the match...and well victories against England are going to taste alot sweeter. But as far as the Test Series is concerned, England are favourites. Sri Lanka have to play really well to win this series, but they will take alot of confidence from the ODIs and the T20.

  • pandian_ikku on June 11, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    My Team Selection,

    1. Thiri 2. Kaushal 3. Sanga 4. Mahiya 5. Mathews 6. Payya 7. Shaminda 8. Kule 9. Rangana 10. Prasad 11. Welagedara

  • dunger.bob on June 11, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    I think Sri Lanka are going to struggle to bowl England out twice. England are going to have a very nervous camp because they have some debutants and this is the start of the new era. All in all it should be a tense struggle because while both teams are flawed their weaknesses are in different areas. .. If Cook and Bell can take charge (as they should, this being their patch and all) England will pile runs on and win. If not, SL could very well ambush the Poms because England will need their senior men to fire and take a bit of the pressure of the young guys to follow. .. I think Cook and Bell will be more important for England than Sanga and Mahela will be for Sri Lanka. It all depends on whether SL can fix those two up imo.

  • on June 11, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    Andrew what are you on about? Grudges on sports? This is poor media speculation. Sri Lankans dont play for grudges. They play for their country. The series is as it is interesting. We dont need this nonsense.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on June 11, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    Good to know that the Sri Lankans are pumped up, they'll need all of it. Their bowling looks terribly inexperienced and most of the batsmen have never played a test match before in England. With such inexperience, they're at an obvious disadvantage even against a rebuilding side.

  • jw76 on June 11, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    Grudges! Hatred, as was obvious during the Ashes series. As usual, both sides contribute. Cricket used to be a vehicle for building bridges, not trenches. Do we have any statesmen on either side who will work to build bridges and heal rifts, so the matches may be played in true sporting spirit? Or is that too much to hope for these days?

  • nlpdave on June 11, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    Oh for the days, as in every other form of cricket, when the umpire sees a player throw the ball he calls it. The unbelievable and unenforceable law fiddling and subsequent complex inquest designed to baffle people with irrelevant technology created by the ICC is damaging in the long term and hugely confusing. The 15 degree flex playing condition is a fudge with political and financial foundations. Nothing to do with cricket.

  • on June 11, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    My team: kausal, chandimal, sanga, mahela, lahiru, mathiws, jayawardane, dhammika, rangana, samnda, welagedara

    Dimuth don't have a proper technique to play against very good seem attack, on seem friendly pitch and early english summer.

  • on June 11, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    Tough task ahead for Sri Lanka. Hopefully, they will select a balanced team of 6 specialists in batting & 5 specialist bowlers including two spinners will be needed to have the edge over England at Lords. Mercifully, the weather will be better unlike the past few weeks. We all hope it will be an intriguing contest and the better team wins.

  • on June 11, 2014, 6:23 GMT

    To be honest I think Victory against any of the major teams Australia, India, Pakistan, and countries like South Africa and England away from home, and even the West Indies and New Zealand in T20s are much savoured by the Sri Lankan cricket fraternity. I think this is because of the highly competitive nature of these games and the fact that when Sri Lanka are playing games with these countries they really turn up, most of the time with their backs against the wall and they are so pleasing to watch. The competitive nature I think is inherited and has been a part of Sri Lankan cricket for decades even through the pre-test era.

  • jonesy2 on June 11, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    sri lanka should win in overwelming fashion against what is one of the least talented test teams in recent history. 90s all over again.

  • Yuosufahmed on June 11, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    @willsrustynuts: They just shouldn't be in the position to be run out there, just like players know to land their foot behind the line when bowling, and just like batsmen need to keep a foot behind the line when the keeper is up. It's just basic technique. Please ask Butler and company to leave their school boy tactics like half running at home.

  • Herath-UK on June 11, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    We all want good cricket & a good rivarly gives more entertainment.England will feel aggreived Sri Lanka have become equal rivals than the usual fodder they expect from the early touring teams.The 'unexpected' ODI series loss is a daming blow to their new set up which they boasted of.However hope Broad,Anderson & co will not make it to disintergrate to a level we saw in the last Ashes.Both teams,captains & umpires should be wise to this possibility.Hope the sun will be out in full which is capitalised by the batsmen of the touring teams in the summer which Sanga & Mahela etc have to just wish for.

  • saravananunga on June 11, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    after sanga and mahela srilanka have not got equallent replacements even in the recent odi series without them it would have been englands trophy.lanka will have to develop good replacements or they will become another Westindies.England are really very tough to beat in test in their soil .lanka will have to show talent or else will have to face humiliation of low scoring loss as it happened in few odi's vs england

  • on June 11, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    How very different == the English teamplayers ( even the captain lost his gentleman air !!) and the British we had been accustomed to associating with within the Civil Service(CCS) and in the Planting sector during the British administration in Ceylon!! Oh! for the wonderful Hartwells,Monkmason Moores, the Stevens and the Lobos. I still cherish pleasant recollections,. Even while I was holidaying in UK..I enjoyed the Gemtleman of England. A few individuals misconduct cannot erase the huge fraction ofEnglish Gentlemen --- they still stand tall so do have patience .

  • Sri_Lankan_Cricket_Fan on June 11, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    Kaushal Sangakkara Mahela Thirimanne Mathews Prasanna Dilruwan Kulasekara Rangana Prasad Shaminda

  • MH19 on June 11, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    20/20 won against england in England/ one day series won 3-2 in England and test crciket is a defferent ball game all together however sri lanka are favourites to win the test series now in England.

  • Prabhash1985 on June 11, 2014, 2:57 GMT

    Good luck Sri Lanka. Let's hope for the best to happen :)

  • m0se on June 11, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    Sri Lanka simply don't have the bowlers to play competitive test cricket against England in England. Sri Lanka hardly play any test cricket and have not had chance to develop their test cricketers to any degree. Malinga and Kulasekkera always takes up the slot in ODIs and T20s and are not in test cricket.

  • Culex on June 11, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    I'll be interested to see how England's test cricket team has changed since the game in Sydney. If SL is a bit riled up then with any luck they will put on a strong performance and give everybody a good look at where England's test cricket stands.

  • IndianInnerEdge on June 11, 2014, 0:44 GMT

    This series should be interesting, evenly matched but still feel England would be the favorites. Donot see what the hullaboo is over the farbrace affair, he is a professional with his skills and time up for sale just like majority of us in the professional employers market. If the competitor's of your current organisation would offer more financially, would'nt you consider this offer? Re - Mankading - I hope somewhere down the line some creative journo comes up with a better term, the fair name of Mankad, a family of two generations at test level and one at FC level has served Indian cricket with flair, joie-de-vivre but with fairness and sportsman spirit, wish this name is not used to describe this controversial dismissal. The tests should be compelling viewing though.....looking fwd:)

  • Mannix16 on June 10, 2014, 21:34 GMT

    Sri Lanka doesn't have the bowlers for 20 wickets. If the track is conducive to spin, then Herath and Senanayake should be able to put up a good performance, but at the moment the Sri Lankan fast bowling compartment looks like a joke. One can only hope that Eranga (who looks the most promising of the quicks) or Prasad (good on his day but mediocre on some) can blast through some wickets.

  • willsrustynuts on June 10, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    Sri Lanka have their gripes for sure and they let you know it! Clearly they didn't come here to insult their hosts, so I hope they can now concentrate on the cricket and leave the schoolboy tactics on the playgound.

  • yorkshirematt on June 10, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    Interesting to read about the Sri lankans mindset ahead of the series. The question is will England " want it" as much as them. The opportunity to start putting Australia behind them should be motivation enough but in the series in 2011 I got the distinct feeling that what was a far better england team were just going through the motions because it was "only Sri Lanka". Although the weather didn't exactly make it interesting either. Anyway I fancy Sri Lanka to do well on a good pitch at a warm sunny Lords. Headingley will no doubt be a rain affected draw as per usual

  • Jaffa79 on June 10, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    I can understand the Sri Lankans wanting to motivate themselves but it is all hubris. They have had lots of problems retaining coaches but looking at that and how their players are in constant turmoil with their board and the inner corruption (Sanga's Cowdrey lecture anyone?), can you blame Farbrace coming back to his own land and coaching the national team? Think about it. I've sympathy for Senanayake's anger and he was the catalyst for the whole Buttler thing but he has to realise that he'll always be close to the acceptable level of bend in the arm due to the doosra. They relaxed the rules to help and I do like watching the doosra but anyone would have to agree that it is always touch and go. It isn't an anti SL or anti doosra thing, it is the laws of the game. The anger of him being called can't be a total shock and the Farbrace thing was poorly timed but we needed a new backroom staff after the Ashes thrashing. Buttler, Farbrace and England really have done nothing wrong!

  • on June 10, 2014, 17:24 GMT

    If the success of SL fast bowlers in flat pitches in UAE was any indication it should be clear that they will do better in England as well. But my worry is not the English players but the weather. conditions, you see.

  • UzyyAz on June 10, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    I agree with Cricket Pissek, and this series is turning out to be really interesting to follow. Who knows Eng vs SL would become a rivalry just like Aus vs Ind. I wouldn't categorize it amongst Ashes or Ind vs Pak but still it has the potential to be something of that nature. As a Pakistani cricket fan, Sri Lanka is my 2nd favorite of all and it would be nice to follow their future encounters with England. For now the worst part is that its a 2 match series, I would've preferred at least 3.

  • Herath-UK on June 10, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    I would repeat that Dilruwan should be slotted to open in the first Test.This will help to get the maximum from a novice bunch of fast bowlers giving them enough breathing space.Also mind, this is at Lords & Sanga (& Mahela) feeling very determind to do well there so the team can make advantage of that situation by getting the service of an additional spinner by playing Dilruwan as an opener.

  • on June 10, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    Good article, Sri Lankan team obviously going use best team to win the first match then try youngers right? I really think Thirimanna should open the batting with sliva. They both got hundreds in the previous match. Some one like karunaratne did play in the serious and playing first math will be difficult. Use him in the second game. Wh bring Prasanna back keep wicket. Chandimal or silva can keep wicket. I think team should chandimal play, give him one chance and see.only worrie for me is that not enough fast bowling in the team. So I would 3 main seamers and two spinner. I would play herath and Senanayake or diliruwan perera. They both can bat too. THERE IS BALANCE TEAM FOR YOU

  • Nutcutlet on June 10, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    I'm sorry that my earleir post was not considered worthy of being read. None-the- less, I felt that what I had to say was worth the saying. Of course, being an 'English' comment on a SL thread does put me at an immediate disadvantage as there is an arbitary discrimination that takes place in these matters of which I'm well aware... I think I'll get back to cricitizing the UK goverment ministers on the Guardian newspaper site where comments do appear unless they are libellous. Censorship is alive and well hereabouts - without any good reason! Come on cricinfo, show a little maturity and tolerance! BW.

  • CaptAhab on June 10, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    Hi Andrew, great article! Just want to add, if I may, that English conditions sometimes (when cold, wet, damp) do help English fast bowlers, whenever they exist - the conditions, I mean. In my humble opinion it does not matter if it is Anderson, Broad, Jordan or Tom, Dick, Harry bowling. If the conditions suit the home team bowlers, they are the best equipped to take advantage. Fair enough! I strongly feel that Sri Lanka have the batsmen to overcome this and the team as a whole will be very strong, especially, after the huge fuss made about that very, very silly run out of that very, very silly batsman.

  • on June 10, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    hope sangakkara and mahela will score and hold the inning ... as a sri lankan i believe that we have enough resources to win this series unless quick fall good luck lions go ahead and wish u all the best

  • on June 10, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    Sri Lankan batting up to No. 7 is stronger than what England is likely to put together. But beyond that SL lower order is fairly thing compared to that of England which has solid batters all the way down to No. 10. In bowling, England is going to unleash 4 pace bowlers who are likely to get more pace, bounce, swing and seam compared to Sri Lankan counterparts. However, if the experienced SL top and middle order can withstand that, posting a competitive score will not be a problem. Regarding SL's possible bowling line up with Eranga and Herath certainties, it will come down to picking to pacemen. Prasad and Pradeep looks like the obvious choice but Welagedara in my opinion is a better choice in terms of variation. Prasad if he plays, that should be partly due to his batting. Pradeep can bowl at good pace but his wicket taking capacity is not that good even at first class level. I do not support using Dilruwan as a makeshift opener in a test match.

  • CricketPissek on June 10, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    I can't express how happy I am that Cricinfo has Andrew Fernando to provide insight to Sri Lanka cricket on this website! With all due respect to Charlie Austin and others who have reported on SL cricket, Andrew has a real talent in reading the mood of the team and general public of the country, and being able to articulate it in such a simple and global manner. To an ex-pat Lankan living in London like me, these articles are a real gift.

  • Rockon21 on June 10, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    I don't understand why SL fans are unhappy with Farbrace. If they had wanted to keep him he should have been given a proper contract instead of just a trial one.

  • BlackHawk on June 10, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    I would love to see us winning at least 1 of the tests. But, I can't honestly see SL winning these. Just don't have the bowlers to take 20 wickets and the batsmen to cope with the moving ball.

  • chandimasl on June 10, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    Mathews can bowl few overs and provide the expectation which the selectors are expecting through kulasekara. And also if dilruwan can be used for the place of dimuth it can be an added advantage of spin for the team as england is weak against spin.

    It is upto the selectors to assess the conditions and take a wise decision.

  • Narkovian on June 10, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    OK , so ENG are a fairly lack-lustre team at the moment. BUT, make no mistake they should have the edge over SL in Tests. Whether they will or not remains to be seen. All I ask is , IF and I say again IF, ENG win by the use of bowlers like Anderson, Broad , Jordan(?), please don't say "Well its in English conditions, so of course SL never stood a chance". That does become a rather lame and boring excuse, used by most over the last few years.

  • chandimasl on June 10, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    It is very interesting to see how SL set the strategy to England attack in these conditions. Considering the performance of the practise match we had it is unfair if prasad or dilruwan is not selected for the team. Though the pitch conditions are different, since dimuth is failing I really wonder why the selectors are not considering sending dilruwan as the opening batsman with kaushal. Because he is a capable batsmen and he has batted in the top order at first class level. So he can be the best find that selectors searching.

    And also it is worth to note the inclusion of kulasekara to the test team. It can be the biggest blunder in this tour. He may take one or two wickets in the first innings. But how will he manage the later overs with his pace. It will be a gift if he is selected when pradeep is having the pace to suit these conditions very well. Therefore the best suited fast bowlers for the first test will be eranga,prasad and pradeep.

  • on June 10, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    Andrew has read the players mind 100% but not only players even Sri Lanka fans feels heat of the battle. It not gonna be a essay and wee need maintain our temperament and go in to the game session by session rather than trying to be more aggressive. Hope the experience of Sanga and Mahela will assist Methiws to keep the unit calm on the field as England will come hard at us. Best of luck for the lions..

  • on June 10, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    my team for 1st test- Kaushal, Chandimal, Sanga,Mahela, Thirimanna, Mathews, Prasanna, Herath, Eranga, Pradeep, Prasad/ welagedara excellent batting line up. bowling looks thin. but aggression of pradeep and prasad with talent of eranga and experience of herath can take 20 wickets I hope.

  • Vaughanographic on June 10, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    England has certainly provided enough motivation to Sri Lanka. I hope Sangakarra and Co hammer them although not sure how though. Matthews's bowling could be an asset on this tour - I hope he is up for a few overs and I really hope Jayawardene and Sangakarra go big with the runs (before failing against South Africa hopefully)

  • Dr.Vindaloo on June 10, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Agree that the timing of Farbrace's move was uncomfortable and distasteful. He should have told ECB point-blank that he was not available until after the current test series, and he could have taken up the role in time for the India series in July. If he was the right man for the job ECB would have waited a couple of months for him to become available. SL have every right to feel bitter about this.

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  • Dr.Vindaloo on June 10, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Agree that the timing of Farbrace's move was uncomfortable and distasteful. He should have told ECB point-blank that he was not available until after the current test series, and he could have taken up the role in time for the India series in July. If he was the right man for the job ECB would have waited a couple of months for him to become available. SL have every right to feel bitter about this.

  • Vaughanographic on June 10, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    England has certainly provided enough motivation to Sri Lanka. I hope Sangakarra and Co hammer them although not sure how though. Matthews's bowling could be an asset on this tour - I hope he is up for a few overs and I really hope Jayawardene and Sangakarra go big with the runs (before failing against South Africa hopefully)

  • on June 10, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    my team for 1st test- Kaushal, Chandimal, Sanga,Mahela, Thirimanna, Mathews, Prasanna, Herath, Eranga, Pradeep, Prasad/ welagedara excellent batting line up. bowling looks thin. but aggression of pradeep and prasad with talent of eranga and experience of herath can take 20 wickets I hope.

  • on June 10, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    Andrew has read the players mind 100% but not only players even Sri Lanka fans feels heat of the battle. It not gonna be a essay and wee need maintain our temperament and go in to the game session by session rather than trying to be more aggressive. Hope the experience of Sanga and Mahela will assist Methiws to keep the unit calm on the field as England will come hard at us. Best of luck for the lions..

  • chandimasl on June 10, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    It is very interesting to see how SL set the strategy to England attack in these conditions. Considering the performance of the practise match we had it is unfair if prasad or dilruwan is not selected for the team. Though the pitch conditions are different, since dimuth is failing I really wonder why the selectors are not considering sending dilruwan as the opening batsman with kaushal. Because he is a capable batsmen and he has batted in the top order at first class level. So he can be the best find that selectors searching.

    And also it is worth to note the inclusion of kulasekara to the test team. It can be the biggest blunder in this tour. He may take one or two wickets in the first innings. But how will he manage the later overs with his pace. It will be a gift if he is selected when pradeep is having the pace to suit these conditions very well. Therefore the best suited fast bowlers for the first test will be eranga,prasad and pradeep.

  • Narkovian on June 10, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    OK , so ENG are a fairly lack-lustre team at the moment. BUT, make no mistake they should have the edge over SL in Tests. Whether they will or not remains to be seen. All I ask is , IF and I say again IF, ENG win by the use of bowlers like Anderson, Broad , Jordan(?), please don't say "Well its in English conditions, so of course SL never stood a chance". That does become a rather lame and boring excuse, used by most over the last few years.

  • chandimasl on June 10, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    Mathews can bowl few overs and provide the expectation which the selectors are expecting through kulasekara. And also if dilruwan can be used for the place of dimuth it can be an added advantage of spin for the team as england is weak against spin.

    It is upto the selectors to assess the conditions and take a wise decision.

  • BlackHawk on June 10, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    I would love to see us winning at least 1 of the tests. But, I can't honestly see SL winning these. Just don't have the bowlers to take 20 wickets and the batsmen to cope with the moving ball.

  • Rockon21 on June 10, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    I don't understand why SL fans are unhappy with Farbrace. If they had wanted to keep him he should have been given a proper contract instead of just a trial one.

  • CricketPissek on June 10, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    I can't express how happy I am that Cricinfo has Andrew Fernando to provide insight to Sri Lanka cricket on this website! With all due respect to Charlie Austin and others who have reported on SL cricket, Andrew has a real talent in reading the mood of the team and general public of the country, and being able to articulate it in such a simple and global manner. To an ex-pat Lankan living in London like me, these articles are a real gift.