The top test side in the world, England move on to their next challenge
on the Asian frontier as they prepare to face Sri Lanka in the two-test series
starting from Monday. After getting whitewashed in the test matches against Pakistan
in UAE, there are still plenty of question marks over their ability to succeed
in conditions away from home.
While preparations for the Pakistan series were immense, the execution simply
was way off. Even better preparations have been made for the current tour, and
with the opponents' bowling attack not as potent compared to Pakistan, it presents
a real opportunity for England to win on Sri Lankan soil after a decade. The build-up
to the first test has been near-perfect for the tourists as they won both their
warm-up matches, including chasing a 359-run target in the fourth innings.
Click for Live Score Card of Sri Lanka Vs England
The team management will have their work cut out though. While Stuart Broad
is expected to be a part of the playing team after recovering from the ankle
injury, the right combination is a big puzzle for them. Broad's presence slates
in an important all-rounder at No. 7. Ravi Bopara is likely to take the
dropped Eoin Morgan's place at number six, though playing Samit Patel
is also an option.
Sri Lanka have had their ups and downs in the past 12 months, with the latest
being their winless return from the Asia Cup. While they have been playing limited
overs cricket for the past couple of months, they did score a memorable test win
in South Africa earlier. In terms of their squad, Angelo Mathews' injury is a
huge setback with his bowling career in jeopardy. Chamara Silva replaces
him in the squad. In familiar conditions, it will still be a test for Sri Lanka
to succeed in the post-Muralitharan era.
The match will be played in Galle where the two sides have been involved in drawn
test matches on the last two tours.