England's Strauss may debut against SL

England may bring in Andrew Strauss for his debut one-dayer against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, with out-of-form Vikram Solanki possibly facing the axe.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2003 14:45 IST

England may bring in Andrew Strauss for his debut one-day international against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, with out-of-form Vikram Solanki possibly facing the axe.

Indian-born Solanki scored just 11 runs in three one-day matches in Bangladesh, which may prompt selectors to elevate Strauss to partner opener Marcus Trescothick.

England arrived in this central Sri Lankan town, famed for its ancient ruins, Monday from the capital Colombo, to start its three one-day and three Test match campaign.

Sri Lankan selectors were under pressure to play three fast bowlers, given the condition of the pitch in the country's newest international venue.

"Basically we should be going with two seamers. But the final 11 will be chosen only after the captain and the coach have seen the wicket tomorrow," said Aravinda de Silva, a national selector.

England is taking all precautions to face the determined Sri Lankans, who are desperate to improve their International Cricket Council rating, which ranks them in the seventh slot.

"They have some very good cricketers. They are used to playing on the wickets here and anyone has an advantage playing in their own country," Trescothick told reporters.

He said England will have to do a lot to beat the home side, but added superior fielding may turn the match in England's favor.

"The team has changed more than anything else. The younger guys coming through have brought energy to the team and extra athleticism to the fielding, and that has made a huge difference in our cricket," he said.

England is now ranked third by the ICC.

One factor that may decide Tuesday's encounter will be Sri Lanka's legendary off-spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan. "It is not just negating what Murali does. He is always a factor because he turns the ball so much," Trescothick said.

Muralitharan has captured 342 wickets in 223 one-day internationals, conceding 22 runs per wicket.

He has bagged five wickets in an innings seven times, including his best bowling figures of 7-30 against India at the Sharjah Cup 2000.

In the last three one-day games against the West Indies last June, Muralitharan took four wickets in all, conceding 96 runs. England will be hoping for continued strong form by Andrew Flintoff, named man of the match in each of the three one-dayers in Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka (from): Marvan Atapattu (captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Chamara Silva, Upul Chandana, Kumar Dharmasena, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Nuwan Kulasekera, Dinusha Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan.

England (from): Michael Vaughan (captain), Marcus Trescothick, Vikram Solanki, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Rikki Clarke, Chris Read, Gareth Batty, Ashley Giles, James Anderson, Richard Johnson, James Kirtley, Ian Blackwell, Andrew Straus, Anthony McGrath.

Umpires: Daryl Harper (Australia) and T.H. Wijewardene (Sri Lanka).

Third umpire: Gamini Silva (Sri Lanka).

Match referee: Clive Lloyd (West Indies).

First Published: Nov 17, 2003 14:45 IST