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Mathews wary of 'one of the best attacks'

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."