Strauss’s men not in same league as Lankans
Sri Lanka have shown they are not a team to be taken lightly. The way they demolished South Africa has made the hosts’ group matches very crucial. One slip and there is a danger of not qualifying for the semis. Sunil Gavaskar comments.india Updated: Sep 25, 2009 01:48 IST
Sri Lanka have shown they are not a team to be taken lightly. The way they demolished South Africa has made the hosts’ group matches very crucial. One slip and there is a danger of not qualifying for the semis.
While the Lankans will be on a high, England will be looking for something to lift their spirits after the losses to Australia.
Their bowlers will relish bowling on the South African pitches.
The batting is also a cause for worry since apart from skipper Andrew Strauss, nobody was consistent against the Australians. The Lankans will not make their problems any easier since not too many batsmen in the world have fathomed what Ajantha Mendis bowls and not too many can pick up the slingy action of Lasith Malinga. Then, there is the magician Muttiah Muralitharan who is never easy to take apart.
The kind of form Tillakaratne Dilshan is in, the sublime touch that Mahela Jayawardene possesses coupled with Kumar Sangakkara's intelligent batting, no total can be considered a secure one. Sanath Jayasuriya has shown that he still has the hunger for runs.
England's task is cut out and on present form, the Lankans should win easily but they are also from the sub-continent where complacency is part of a cricketer's kit bag and so can be unpredictable. The heavy weather that Pakistani made of chasing a small target that the West Indies had set them is an example.
Though they eventually won with plenty of overs to spare, they would have felt that they should have done so with the loss of just a couple of wickets. The pitch at the Wanderers is a bouncy one and that should make the new ball bowlers look forward to the chance of buzzing a few around the batsmen's ears.