SL consider change of tactics to suit wet pitch
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SL consider change of tactics to suit wet pitch

Wet weather is set to produce a fast, bowler-friendly pitch for the opening one-day international between Sri Lanka and England on Tuesday.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2003 21:57 IST

Wet weather is set to produce a fast, bowler-friendly pitch for the opening one-day international between Sri Lanka and England on Tuesday.

The lingering northeast monsoon season has hampered preparations for the opener to the three-match series, leaving the pitch damp and in urgent need of sunshine.

Sri Lanka made good use of a rare dry spell on Saturday night to test new floodlights but were forced to abandon their session on Sunday because of more heavy rain.

"There will be some moisture there because the wicket has not seen much sunshine over the last few days and the water level is also very high at this ground," said Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu.

Fast bowlers dominated the last tournament played in Dambulla, a triangular series with New Zealand and Pakistan in May, and Atapattu expects a similar, low-scoring dogfight.

The conditions have forced Sri Lanka to consider revising their strategy and include an extra seamer, probably the uncapped Nuwan Kulasekera who has caught the eye of the team management at training.

"Having seen the conditions, and having played on the square on Saturday night, we are now considering playing three fast bowlers," said Atapattu.

Sri Lanka's batsmen struggled to cope with the moving ball during the games at Dambulla, failing to qualify for a home triangular series final for the first time in history.

Atapattu said he would prefer to play on spin-friendly pitches.

"I would obviously like to play in conditions that favour my bowlers but if conditions are going to be like this then there is nothing that we can do about it. We will just have to go out there and do the job," he said.

Sri Lanka are set to play the same top order used during their last series against West Indies in June, keeping faith with Tillakaratne Dilshan who is under pressure from Russel Arnold for the number six slot.

England are debating whether to discard opener Vikram Solanki, who has scored 83 runs in his last eight games.

Solanki failed again against a Sri Lanka Board President's XI on Saturday, although he looked unfortunate to be adjudged lbw for his fifth-ball duck.

Middlesex opener Andrew Strauss grabbed his chance to impress though with a fine 83.

England, who lost 3-0 in their last one-day series in Sri Lanka in 2001, are searching for their seventh consecutive win.

The final two matches in the series will be played in Colombo on November 21 and 23.


Sri Lanka: 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: 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 and T.H. Wijewardene

Third umpire: Gamini Silva

Match referee: Clive Lloyd.

First Published: Nov 16, 2003 21:57 IST