India v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, Group B, The Oval June 7, 2017

Mathews wary of 'one of the best attacks'

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Where in previous years, India's batting comprised the greatest threat to oppositions, their bowling has also turned up strong in this Champion's Trophy, and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has noticed.

So far, India's attack has been unstoppable. They dismissed Pakistan for 164 on Sunday, but had also demolished Bangladesh, and skittled New Zealand in the warm-up encounters. The most they've taken to bowl a side out since arriving in England is 38.4 overs. With the seamers, particularly Umesh Yadav, being penetrative, Sri Lanka expected a stern challenge on Thursday, on what could be a seam-friendly surface at The Oval.

"If you talk about India, the batting line-up has always put teams under pressure, but this bowling lineup is quite different," Mathews said. "They're one of the best in the world. You get a good balance of spin and pace, and they're all different to each other, and they've got a fantastic bowling attack. For the batters it will be hard work, especially on this greenish wicket, but we're just hoping for a good performance tomorrow."

Sri Lanka's top order faces a particularly difficult task - they have lost one of their most experienced batsmen in Upul Tharanga, and also Chamara Kapugedara, who was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury. Danushka Gunathilaka, who is in England as a standby, will slot into the XI at the top of the order.

Mathews, did, however, take a harsh view of the extremely slow over rate that led to Tharanga's two-match suspension. Sri Lanka had taken more than four hours to deliver their 50 overs against South Africa, despite warnings from the umpires. Mathews did not play in that game, owing to a calf injury.

"The over rate was pathetic," Mathews said. "I call it pathetic because the whole team, and the captain was warned several times, and there's no excuse at all but to take responsibility for that because nobody else can take responsibility on it. The whole team is responsible, including the captain.

"And I do feel for the captain, I think it's a very hard job on the field, and he has to look into so many things -- tactics, bowling changes, field settings. So the rest of the players have to support them. You see most of the teams playing with four seamers, and they have not had an issue. So we played only three, and we've had an issue. So that has been addressed, and it will not happen again."

Thursday's match will be played at The Oval, which is former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara's home venue in the County Championship. Sri Lanka hope the knowledge Sangakkara has acquired about batting in England, will confer on them a slight advantage.

"It's unfortunate that we don't have Kumar anymore, but he's always willing to help us. He's always having chats to us on how we should play on these conditions, especially as it's his home ground. He's had a lot of chats to all the younger players, including myself."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   cricfan39752854 on June 8, 2017, 17:35 GMT

    Best thing happned to SL team is ban of Tharanga and injury of Kapugedara. UT fans? and Mathew haters, see how a captain wins a match for a team.

  • Warlock786 on June 8, 2017, 14:59 GMT

    Yes this Indian attack is fantastic for Indian standards but not world standards. Pakistan's recent bowling display puts them right at the top of the league followed very closely by Australia & SA. India while a much improved bowling unit is doing good because it's batman put on huge totals against weak batting lineups i.e. Pakistan. But with all due respect this looks like the same Indian team of the last champions trophy, very very strong batting lineup. Rohit and Dhawan have finally found form, this time however England is also a far stronger side.

  • devanshu2005 on June 8, 2017, 13:34 GMT

    after 1 st innings Pupun ...seems 100-0 in favour of India....respect from Sri Lankan fan

  •   Pupun Jena on June 8, 2017, 7:04 GMT

    it's a 50-50 game.respecting every opposition from an indian fan..

  • Nijas on June 8, 2017, 6:14 GMT

    Being an Indian fan, I still have no idea why Sanga has retired. He is still fit as a nut and has been in great form even after his retirement. Look at his county scores, I wish he had return to the team and play for another 3 to 4 years or until next worldcup. As for India they have a pretty good all round side, except for fielding which have been a night mare for them for the past 1 year. They have good fielders but lacks concentration on field. My playing 11 for today should be same as previous except Jadhav with Ashwin replacing him. Jadav is not at his best and is little slippy in field, I guess ashwin can bat and bowl to his potential.

  • DineshKanwar on June 8, 2017, 4:55 GMT

    I would say call on this Kumar fella. I guess he knows a bit how to put bat to a ball. I would presume, he knows it better than all the batters combined on both teams. Current SL team has 0 quality. Zilch. They may still win today as cricket is a funny game, but that won't change the fact that they have not even a single quality player, a player who can turn the game on it's head. Anyway best of luck to both teams and may the best team on the day win.

  • anuradea on June 8, 2017, 4:50 GMT

    There seem to be so much disharmony in the team that has been passed down by the bungling SLC. The captain seem to be picking and choosing the games to protect his image. He was fine for the IPL and the practice games but the minute the tough games come he is always seem to be injured. Starting from the Australian ODI's, in South Africa and now here. Sri Lanka needs to find a fit captain with better commitment on playing for the country. The investment the country made on his captaincy was an absolute waste as he seem to be a captain without a following, a plan and absolutely poor as a tactician. When Mahela was there he was ok as Mahela took care of all that. He better decide what he wants to do in the future as the with him as captain Sri Lanka cricket is going nowhere. How can Alan Donald, Ford and all the support entourage accompanying the team not send a single message to increase the over rate? We seem to always have cancers with agendas disrupting the team harmony.kick them out

  • cricfan5029545455 on June 8, 2017, 4:31 GMT

    @INSIDEHEDGE kohlis captaincy in the ipl was a joke. He has no clue what to do when things don't go his way. AB didn't do that bad it was the batting that really lost the game

  • JBKSHAH on June 8, 2017, 4:20 GMT

    Santa can take place of Tharanga and I m sure he will do better than anyone else even today.

  • cooljack_143 on June 8, 2017, 3:34 GMT

    Folks calm don't don't go too much into Pak cricket. SA were complacent period

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