Sri Lanka will have to think outside the box to beat England, says skipper Karunaratne

Dimuth Karunarane’s men must win their next match to keep their World Cup semi-final hopes alive but opponents England are in red-hot form and are no longer bunnies against spin.

Sri Lanka's 2019 Cricket World Cup captain Dimuth Karunaratne

Dimuth Karunaratne has labelled England the best players of spin at this World Cup – and admits Sri Lanka will have to think outside the box if they are to halt the hosts’ charge on Friday.

England took Rashid Khan and Afghanistan apart earlier this week at Old Trafford, Eoin Morgan the tormentor in chief as Khan was dispatched for 110 runs from only nine overs.

England crashed 25 maximums in total off the Afghans’ spin-heavy attack and are now at Headingley preparing for Friday’s clash against Sri Lanka.

Karunaratne’s troops must win to keep their knock-out hopes alive but England have won six in a row in Leeds and broke the ground ODI record earlier this summer against Pakistan.

And while Imran Tahir and Shadab Khan had some initial success with spin in the first powerplay against England, Karunaratne and Sri Lanka might have other plans up their sleeves.

“England is the best batting line-up against the spinners in the world,” admitted the Sri Lankan skipper.

“If you take the Asian countries, I think England are playing even better than them. We must think about it, check the ground and what combinations will we use against England?

“Will we go with two spinners, or an extra batsman and fast bowler? That is what we are discussing at the moment.

“We know that we need to restrict them to less than 300, we have a couple of plans against the batsmen and we will try to use them in the middle.

“Everyone in their batting line-up is dangerous, they are explosive and can change the game.

“We are taking every one of them seriously. And have a plan for each and everyone and hopefully it will work in this game.

“We will have to think out of the box and that is what we have been doing over the last few weeks.

“We had a home series against them before with them, so we have a couple of ideas and we need to work them out in the middle.”

Sri Lanka lost that home ODI series against England before Christmas, but won the final clash in Colombo which will give them hope on Friday.

With the bat, the top order has fired as Karunaratne and Kusal Perera have combined for four half centuries already this World Cup.

But the middle order is yet to launch, and that cost them dearly in defeat to Australia after a lightning quick start.

“In our batting line-up, in the middle, we have to take some responsibilities. If England have scored more than 300 then we have to go for it,” he added.

“Mentally we have to prepare. The middle order have a lot of talent and did really good things for Sri Lanka in the recent past.

“We need them to come in with a good mindset, that is the key thing when you are playing against a good team.

“There is no point talking about the past, we know what happened in the last four matches and the key areas – we need to look forward and prepare for the England game. We need to play positive cricket.”

Sri Lanka face England in their next World Cup match on June 21 in Headingley.



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  1. We have two hospital games coming up against Eng and then India, both capable of bruising us badly. If there was ever a time for rain, this is it! Both teams really hard to plan for as they have all bases covered. However, this is a WC game and lets put our head in the sand and hope they panic for no apparent reason but expecting to get mauled in both games.

    Point to note about Eng and cast your mind back to the 2015 WC. They didn’t make the knock out stage and went home with tails between the legs. But they also played a different brand of cricket which they vowed to change. First they hired a coach exactly for that purpose and then they invested in players, particularly batters to deliver by 2019. Can you imagine guys like Bell, Trott and Collinwood fitting in this Eng team. Having talent helps and Eng have plenty of it but they also had a plan and stuck to it. Now think what SLC did in the same period of time.

  2. definitely this will be a hard game for Sri Lanka but its not impossible this is cricket after all so anything can happen. Sri Lanka will just need to go out there and play fearless cricket don’t worry about the semi finals just focus on playing top cricket like we used to and who knows a miracle might just happen. i definitely agree with you Stormy Sri Lanka will need to follow in the footsteps of England after this world to recover our team. 2023 World Cup Sri Lanka should target to be wear England is right now in ODI cricket.

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