LONDON (Sporting Alert) — England will start favourites to collect the points against Sri Lanka in today’s ICC Champions Trophy Group A at The Oval.
England opened the tournament with a 48 run victory over Australia at Edgbaston and are now targeting a semi-final slot.
However, one man that could pose serious problems to the Englishmen is Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga, who was very impressive in the defeat against New Zealand.
“Clearly he’s obviously a dangerous man for Sri Lanka,” said England captain Alastair Cook. “He’s a mighty fine bowler and a very elite bowler in terms of he’s got a very different technique or bowling action than you come across very often.
“Most of us have faced him before.
“It does take a little bit of time to get used to his action, so we’re trying to obviously help pass on some experience facing him before as a side.
“Of course he’s tricky. He’s a very good bowler, and he’s a major part of their success. So if we can play him well as a batting unit, it will really put Sri Lanka under some pressure.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Matthews says his side isn’t lacking in confidence despite the defeat against New Zealand in the opener, but has called on the batsmen to produce at the tournament, after the team’s poor batting performance in the last game.
“I think the whole batting unit has to take responsibility,” Matthews said. “The whole batting unit when it comes to the top seven especially, we need to take responsibility on this because we can’t really expect the bowlers to score runs for us.
“The bowlers, if we actually get to 250, 240, the bowlers will actually do the job for us. More often than not they have done the job for us, but I think it’s pretty hard to ask the bowlers, as well.
“We as batters need to take responsibility on our batting.”
England could recall a fit again Graeme Swann for this game after the spinner missed the first game against Australia with back spasms, but seamer Tim Bresnan could miss the game to be with his wife who is more than a week overdue with the couple’s first baby.
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England (probably): Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson.
Sri Lanka (probably): Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga, Lasith Malinga.
Umpires Aleem Dar and BF Bowden
TV umpire M Erasmus
Match referee J Srinath
Reserve umpire AL Hill