Millennium Post

Revenge-seeking England take on Lanka

Revenge-seeking England take on Lanka
Cook’s status as captain came under heavy pressure after the 1-0 Test defeat, and tempers frayed in the ODIs when off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake controversially ran out Jos Buttler before delivering a ball. The ‘Mankaded’ dismissal by Senanayake, since suspended for an illegal bowling action, is considered to be against cricket’s spirit of fair play. But Sri Lanka insisted Buttler was earlier warned for backing up, and senior pro Mahela Jayawardene lashed out at Cook for questioning Senanayake’s run-out.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka are smarting from this month’s 5-0 thrashing in India in a series that was
hastily arranged after the West Indies abandoned their Indian tour over a pay dispute. Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews insisted the matches will be used to recover from the morale-sapping loss and find the right combination for the World Cup starting in February.

‘We need to get back into our groove. We want to look at players whom we think need to be looked at and whom we think will go on the World Cup. It’s very important that we sort out our bowlers and also the batting order. By the end of the series we should have a very clear idea of whom we want to take to the World Cup,’ Mathews said.

Both teams are grouped together in the preliminary stage of the World Cup and will feature on the opening day on February 14, with Sri Lanka playing New Zealand and England facing Australia. The upcoming series, which opens in Colombo, provides both teams a chance to strike form, provided the weather does not play spoilsport.

The prevailing north-east monsoon over the island has already forced one of the two warm-up matches to be abandoned, leaving the tourists short of match practice. With more rain forecast during the series, Sri Lankan officials have set aside reserve days for five of the seven matches.
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