Can England reclaim the lead? (Preview)
In his last three ODI’s Mahela Jayawerdena has scored two consummate centuries. One of them was in the world cup final, but, ended on a losing side. On Friday against England in the second ODI of ongoing series, that wasn’t case though. Sri Lanka trounced England by 69 to make a strong comeback, leveling the series.
The turnaround for the touring side after getting a drubbing at the hand of England in the first ODI was largely fashioned by Mahela’s heroics with the bat opening the innings. Everything fell in place for Sri Lanka as Mahela exhibited his class to inject confidence into the side that looked all at sea at The Oval.
Contrary to England, the tourists seemed to have all the bases covered. And, England, at the end of the day, were left with so many questions to be answered.
All of a sudden, Lankan batsmen overcame The Oval nightmare and posted a 300-plus score. Besides Mahela, runs also came from Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews. Kumar looked at his classy best while Mathews, feeling his way into cricket after a long injury break, was a welcome sign for the world cup runner-ups. The team management would dearly want runs from their skipper T Dilshan in the business end of the series for he has failed twice with the bat. If he gets into his groove, then Sri Lanka will be tough to contain for the home side bowlers.
And, Sri Lankan bowlers backed up their batsmen to hand a crushing defeat to the hosts. Off-spinner Suraj Randiv led the way as his away going deliveries were hard to pick for English batsmen. With the result, he got three wickets and young fast bowler Suranga Lakmal was equally impressive with as many wickets. In nutshell, Sri Lanka looked a contrast of their pathetic performance in the first one-dayer. Their overall fielding wasn’t bad either. That should please the team management.
For Sri Lanka to continue on the good work, responsibility should fall on big guns again. Thursday’s astounding display should give them the psychological edge over England at Chester-le-Street.Headingley fixture was a forgettable outing for Alastair Cook led side though. Under new steward, the home side had an ideal start and it appeared new era in England’s limited overs’ cricket has got a headstart. All those good feeling evaporated after English boys faltered big time to Lankan all-round brilliance.
England were pedestrians in the field, fumbling and dropping on more than one occasion. Three of five frontline bowlers conceded more than seven runs an over and dished up hittable line and length when Mahela and Co. were on a charge. Barring James Anderson and Graeme Swann, others failed to make an impression. Stuart Broad carried his poor test form into ODI’s as well. The tall fast bowler looks to have a problem with the length he wants to bowl, and, consequently, his errs on both the shorter fuller length. England management might be tempted to bring left arm spinner Samit Patel into the playing eleven to give Cook more spin options. England’s death bowling woes continue, and, as of now, save for Tim Bresnan, not many can do the job for England.
As of now, batting looks okay. Cook, as a one-day batsman, makes for a good impression. Craig Kieswetter feels at home on his comeback, Johnathan Trott and Ian Bell are in superb form. Their premier batsmen in the format, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan, are in a terrific shape. It will have to be this duo to give England edge in the batting department. To their credit, batsmen couldn’t have done much after opponents had put up a mammoth total on the board. However, majority of the batters were able to get starts and looked comfortable in good touch during their stay at the crease. Batsmen failing to convert starts into big knocks should be bothering coach Andy Flower. A no non-sense kind of a coach as he is, Flower would be reminding his charges of the profits of making starts count in any format of the game.
In the matter of three days, fortunes have changed. England were given taste of their own medicine at Headingley after mauling Lankans at The Oval. England would hope for another reversal in fortunes that will put them ahead on Sunday. The way hosts have comeback in the series; a turnaround of sorts looks a difficult proposition.
SQUAD: Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott, Chris Woakes.
SQUAD: T Dilshan (c), T Kandambi, K Sangakkara (wk), M Jayawardena, D Chandimal, J Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thissara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Suranga Lakmal, Damikka Prasad, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis, Angelo Mathews.© eContent.in
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