Last time sri lanka met England it was a gloomy series for the Lankans it was evident that they weren’t enjoying their time in the unfamiliar green pitches and the pre summer weather. The advantage was heavily in favor of England ,what saved Sri Lanka from humiliation was resolute batting from prasanna jayawardena and the English rain.
Sri Lankan tour was immediately followed by the Indian tour where india were swept away easily by England. But the question to be asked was how they will cope away from home in sub continent conditions. The recent series against Pakistan was a good eye opener for anyone who believes England are worthy to be the best international team in tests. The three Lions are a formidable opponent on pitches that help there fast bowlers but their bowling lacks the application required to bowl in the sub continent where the shine goes off the ball within the first hour.
If the first tour game was any indication to go by England seem prepared and in a very aggressive frame of mind. But any sort of aggressive behavior which crosses the line won’t be tolerated by the sri lankan team. England will do well to focus on their skills rather than playing mind games. Furthermore england have been complaining about the weather in a way that only Englishman can do ,surely they realize they’re in a different continent .Sri Lankans don’t complain about green pitches and the cold weather when they tour England.
The Major concern for sri lanka will be how quickly they can adapt to home conditions. And there is also a concern as to how fit the battle weary lankan team is going to be, one can assume that they might be mentally and physically drained when they turn-up for the first match in Galle.May be it would have been prudent for the senior batsmen to return home after the CB series.Sri Lanka will rely heavily on Sanga,Mahela and Samaraweera for big scores while others bat around them.Rest of the batting is a concern tharanga paranavitha who is a heavy scorer in domestic cricket hasn’t taken his chance I feel time is running out for him therefore he will have to make this series count.Dilshan can be a hit or miss in test cricket hopefully he’ll be hit on home conditions.Then there is the case of which wicket keeper to use since Angelo Matthews is injured we might see chandimal playing as pure batsmen and jayawardena doing the keeping duties.
Sri lanka’s bowling is a main concern going into the series the only bowler that can be penciled in straight away is Rangana herath. since sri lanka haven’t announced a squad when this is being written I assume that the other bowlers might be Shaminda Eranga,Suranga Lakmal and hopefully Sacithra Senanayake.Other bowling options might be welegedara and Randiv/prasanna.Not a threatening bowling line up by any standards England batsmen will breathe a sigh of relief after what they faced against the Pakistanis. It will fall on ranagana herath to takethe majority of the wickets hopefully the other bowlers also chip in with a few wickets.If sri lankan bowlers don’t create enough pressure the likes of cook and trott will put up massive scores easily.
Compared to Sri lanka England have a steady bowling line up with James Anderson leading the pace attack,he had a poor series against Pakistan where he bowled accurately without much success if the ball starts to reverse swing he will cause the batsmen some problems.The biggest threat I believe will come from the 6 foot 7 inch Steven Finn who most people seem to overlook. In sri Lankan condition batsmen rarely gets bothered by short bowls they expect the ball to come in at a nice height. Finns ability to get bounce from a good length will surprise many sri lankan batsmen.Then England have the overrated Graeme swann sri lanka should be able to handle his spin easily they’re plenty of similar spinner s in domestic cricket.The Lankans should look out for the inform Monty panesar who’s in good form,he’s had a good series in the u.a.e his confidence will be high.The lankan batsmen will do well to have a good look at panesars bowling before attacking him.Other bowlers include stuart broad who’s in good form as well, he seems to have gone back to the bowling basics and will be different bowler to the one sri lanka encountered in England.If England bowlers bowl as a unit they will a tough opposition for the batsmen.
The test series promises to be good one neither team I think have a clear advantage going into the matches.The sri lankan will be a little set back with their batting stars being overworked and the lack of planning. While England have been acclimatizing them selves eager for the battle that is to come.I feel that the team that scores the most runs in the first innings will be favorites to win the matches.