ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

England v Sri Lanka, World Cup 2011, 3rd quarter-final, Colombo

Toss the key for England

At a venue where chasing is difficult, England's best chance lies in batting first and applying pressure on a shaky Sri Lankan middle order

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan

March 25, 2011

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Muttiah Muralitharan celebrates the wicket of Scott Styris, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group A, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, March 18, 2011
Muttiah Muralitharan: exceptional in day-night matches at the Premadasa Stadium © AFP
Related Links
Players/Officials: Muttiah Muralitharan
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: England | Sri Lanka

The path to the quarter-finals for the two teams could not have been more contrasting. After a shock loss against Pakistan in Colombo, Sri Lanka have been emphatic in their remaining games. England, on the other hand, have stuttered their way into the next round by eventually beating West Indies in a close game in Chennai. England's unpredictability has been on view throughout the group stages. They were below par in their matches against the non-Test playing teams and Bangladesh; they threw away winning positions in the matches against Ireland and Bangladesh but in the big matches against South Africa and India, they managed to pull off stunning comebacks. Sri Lanka come into the quarter-final on the back of a huge win over New Zealand in their final group game in Mumbai, and knowing fully well that they are playing at one of their favourite home venues.

England hold a slight edge in the overall meetings in ODIs, but Sri Lanka have the advantage in matches played at home, despite losing the home series in 2007 by a 3-2 margin. In global tournaments, England have dominated Sri Lanka and lead the head-to-head meetings 8-2. However, the majority of the wins came in early editions of the World Cup when Sri Lanka were not genuinely competitive. Sri Lanka have the edge in recent clashes in World Cups, beating England in both the 1996 and the 2007 tournaments. While England did beat Sri Lanka comfortably in the 1999 World Cup and in the 2004 and 2009 Champions Trophy, those games were played in England and South Africa, where the conditions will be quite different to Colombo. In clashes in Sri Lanka since 2000, the home team leads 6-3 and boast a much higher average of 28.92 as compared to England's 17.75.

Sri Lanka v England in ODIs
Played Sri Lanka England W/L ratio
Overall 44 21 23 0.91
Since 2000 24 14 10 1.40
In Sri Lanka since 2000 9 6 3 2.00
In global tournaments 10 2 8 0.25

England's performance in the group stages makes it incredibly hard to judge where they stand. They have been ordinary against the smaller teams and have gone on to lose matches they should have won. On the other hand, they managed to pull of close wins in low-scoring games against South Africa and West Indies and tied their match against India in Bangalore after chasing 338. Their stats against the top teams are comparable to Sri Lanka's but they are much poorer against the lesser teams. In sharp contrast to England, Sri Lanka have been clinical in their games against the smaller teams. Hopefully for England, the more relevant stat for them will be their numbers against the top teams.

Performance of teams in the 2011 World Cup
Team Opposition Bat Avg RR Bowl Avg ER Avg diff RR diff
Sri Lanka Test-playing teams 32.23 5.09 25.29 5.05 6.94 0.04
England Test-playing teams 26.85 5.21 24.26 5.12 1.41 0.09
Sri Lanka non Test-playing teams and Bangladesh 57.50 6.78 15.06 3.78 42.44 3.00
England non Test-playing teams and Bangladesh 38.54 5.71 40.38 5.72 -1.84 -0.01

Sri Lanka dominate England across all phases of the innings in matches played in the tournament so far. England score at a slightly higher rate in the first 15 overs but average considerably lower than Sri Lanka in the same period. Sri Lanka have been supreme in the middle overs, averaging 95 while batting and just over 17 with the ball. England have been more expensive in the same period and average over 35 with the ball. In the end overs, Sri Lanka score at 8.25 runs per over and concede just over a run a ball. England have lost 14 wickets in the batting Powerplay in their group matches and score at 6.36 runs per over in the last ten overs of their innings.

Performance of teams across an innings in the World Cup
Team Period (overs) Batting Avg RR Bowling Avg ER Avg diff RR diff
Sri Lanka 0-15 69.57 5.41 35.44 4.25 34.13 1.16
England 0-15 55.33 5.53 39.50 5.26 15.83 0.27
Sri Lanka 16-40 95.00 5.47 17.14 4.14 77.86 1.33
England 16-40 54.78 5.11 35.85 5.02 18.87 0.09
Sri Lanka 41-50 12.40 8.25 8.30 6.07 4.10 2.18
England 41-50 15.71 6.36 19.38 6.93 -3.67 -0.57

While Sri Lanka's top order is dangerous in home conditions, their lower middle order is not the most reliable and is yet to be tested in the tournament. England's middle order is also shaky, and apart from Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, the rest of the batting has not been in great form. Both teams have scored at a very similar rate against pace and spin, but Sri Lanka have the better average by virtue of losing far fewer wickets.

Sri Lanka have been the best bowling side in the spin department and are likely to employ three spinners against England, who demonstrated vulnerability while facing quality spin against Bangladesh and South Africa.

Teams against pace and spin (matches against Test-playing teams only)
Team Bowling style Average RR Boundary% Dot-ball%
Sri Lanka pace 33.76 5.22 44.19 58.92
England pace 25.05 5.28 38.13 56.05
Sri Lanka spin 29.75 4.87 31.09 50.51
England spin 26.30 4.84 35.36 50.61

The Premadasa Stadium has a history of being heavily loaded in favour of the side batting first, especially in day-night matches - in 49 completed games, 36 have been won by the team batting first. In day-night matches played at the venue since 2000, Sri Lankan spinners have been excellent in the second innings with an average of 23.66 and an economy rate of 4.02. Muttiah Muralitharan, the second highest wicket-taker in World Cups, has been exceptional in the second innings in day-night games at the Premadasa, with 25 wickets at 14.88 in the last decade. With the knowledge of the difficulties associated with chasing at this venue, England will feel that their best chance lies with winning the toss and batting first.


Comments: 9 
Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 17:13 GMT)

Whoops..............The match's over...How'bout the Lankans!!! Indians are just fear the Lions....First they better try to get on with the the Paks and make sure not to repeat Eden Garden semis 1996!!!

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 9:00 GMT)

strass is the key factor for england and muralidharan is the key factor for srilanka, lets wait and see who has the chance to meet DHONI

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 8:53 GMT)

Numan - Both team will not qualify for the Finals... This will be the last game for SL in CWC 2011.....

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 8:52 GMT)

SL is going to win this match and 2011 champions will be Indians

Posted by saeed3001 on (March 26, 2011, 8:44 GMT)

Its anyone's game. Thoiugh Lanka stable and full of fighters, its matter of just one game... England's 2 bowlers have their day and they get top 4 quickly, who knows... dont remember their match in champions trophy 2009

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

SL going to lose today....

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 7:45 GMT)

all the best SL lions...... hope SL vs Pak Final :)

Posted by   on (March 26, 2011, 6:25 GMT)

seeing england's past prefomances in the cwc one thing is sure that its not going to be aone sided encounter.it will be india vs eng in the finals. best of luck english team

Posted by   on (March 25, 2011, 17:34 GMT)

Its anyone's game. Thoiugh Lanka stable and full of fighters, its matter of just one game... England's 2 bowlers have their day and they get top 4 quickly, who knows... dont remember their match in champions trophy 2009?

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