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April 2, 2012
Opinion : Ditch the plans, England
News : We'll try and win - Jayawardene
News : England batting 'a sin' says Trott
News : Panesar place under threat for second Test
Mahela Jayawardene : As a captain, you love to be challenged
News : Finn hopeful of England recall
News : Broad ruled out of Colombo Test
Matches: Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (PSS)
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Sri Lanka
It is doubtless the case that he has not thought of resignation and neither have England's selectors yet seriously thought of forcing him to stand down. They are all observing a problem and trusting that it will go away. One of Strauss' strengths as a captain is that he is supremely confident about his rightful place at the centre of things. He can be short of runs and chided for what are seen as overly defensive tactics but even without England's position at the top of the Test rankings, he would understandably be perceived as indispensable managerial material. If he threatened to move to the Cayman Islands, it would probably persuade the government to drop the top rate of tax by another 5p.
Strauss' immediate fate might rest on a difficult selection. England need to decide whether pace or spin is their best chance of rescuing their Test credentials. Shane Warne took 11 in his one appearance here while the wicket-taking list is headed by an unsurprising name: Muttiah Muralitharan claimed 52 wickets in nine Tests. England have not played here since Sri Lanka's inaugural Test in 1982 when Derek Underwood and John Emburey combined to take 14 wickets.
Sri Lanka, by contrast, are experiencing love, second time around, for Mahela Jaywardene. After the retirement of Murali, decline seemed likely. England, comically vulnerable against spin all winter, have fired Sri Lanka's belief that taking 20 wickets in a Test remains achievable.
Players to watch
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Lahiru Thirimanne, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Suraj Randiv, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Dhammika Prasad, 11 Suranga Lakmal.
England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Matt Prior (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steve Finn.
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
"There are five or six teams in the world playing really good cricket now, so on any given day they can beat each other, but England have set the standards."
Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's captain, is gleeful about the prospect of a pacy pitch
"I'm watching Bear Grylls cope with the frigid French Alps before bedtime. If it snows tomorrow in Colombo I shall be the man to turn to..."
Graeme Swann, cooped up in his Colombo hotel room, tries to keep the lighthearted mood.
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