SL look to overcome 'negative' England
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SL look to overcome 'negative' England

Sri Lanka will look to overcome England's perceived "negative tactics" and record a win in the third and final Test starting on Thursday.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2003 15:00 IST

Sri Lanka will look to overcome England's perceived "negative tactics" and record a win in the third and final cricket Test starting Thursday after conceding draws in the first two matches of the series.

England managed to hold on for a draw with just one wicket remaining in Galle's first Test match, while skipper Michael Vaughan's battling century inspired his batsmen to thwart the Sri Lankan charge in the second Test at Kandy.

"We've made the pace in the whole series," captain Hashan Tillekeratne said Wednesday. "We should now use our experience and familiarity with home conditions to penetrate England's negative tactics."

Going into the series decider at 0-0 has spurred England, but Tillekeratne and Sri Lanka coach John Dyson are not happy by the situation.

"For Sri Lanka, a drawn series will be a huge disappointment," Tillekeratne said.

The Sri Lankan captain said his team was "not under any undue pressure" to win the final Test and avenge the loss of the last two series against England, but the fans wanted it to play quality cricket.

"Our focus is on playing good cricket, but fans sure do get disappointed when quality cricket does not result in positive results," Tillekeratne said.

He said the pressure was on England, whose defensive style of play was killing the prospects of an exciting series. "Isn't it obvious which team is under pressure, it surely isn't Sri Lanka," he said.

"The way England has batted, the threat of a defeat hasn't occurred to us in this series."

England captain Michael Vaughan, meanwhile, insists his team's batting form in the Kandy Test had given it a chance of stealing the series from Sri Lanka.

"The way this series has gone, why can't we steal it," Vaughan said.

He said England was confident of taking the opportunity if the Sri Lankans folded under the expectations from home fans. Two years ago, England clinched a 2-1 victory in the last tour of Sri Lanka, and then repeated it by prevailing 1-0 at home last year.

"The vital difference is that England won two Tests two years ago, but this time they've just managed to save two," said Dyson, a former Australian Test cricketer who took over as Sri Lanka's coach ahead of this series.

"We've been the more positive team, and we're taking this attitude into the final Test," said Dyson, brushing aside England coach Duncan Fletcher's remarks that his side had gained confidence from the two draws.

With the action returning to Colombo's Singhalese Sports Club, where England secured the series-clinching victory last time, both teams are bracing for a battle of attrition.

Tillekeratne had vowed to avenge the defeats this time, but his bowlers need to be more penetrative after failing to breach England's defense on the last day of the two Tests.

First Published: Dec 17, 2003 15:00 IST