London: England captain Nasser Hussain will be hoping his side's domination over Sri Lanka will continue when the two sides contest a One-day international at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
England completed a 2-0 Test series victory over Sri Lanka earlier this month and Hussain will hope to translate that form into the Limited Overs arena where India will complete the line-up for the triangular trophy. Hussain will, however, be worried by England's Limited Overs form after his side crashed to an eight-wicket defeat to Wales at Sophia Gardens on Monday. England struggled to score 189 runs and couldn't snare more than two Welsh wickets as it slumped to defeat. The defeat to Wales showed how much Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick withdrawals through injury has depleted the England bowling attack.
Gough is doubtful to take part in the series after injuring his knee, while Caddick is ruled out after suffering a side strain in last week's Test match at Old Trafford. The withdrawal of the strike pairing will benefit Ronnie Irani and James Kirtley, who make their returns to the international arena. All-rounder Irani has not played international One-day cricket for five years, but he was drafted into the squad after a string of impressive performances for Essex this season. While Sussex paceman Kirtley was recalled after his bowling action was scrutinised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) when questions were raised on England's One-day tour of Zimbabwe last year. England's chairman of selectors David Graveney is pleased to have both players back for the One-day series. "Ronnie Irani has been in the form of his life for Essex this summer," he said, adding, "James Kirtley...has done a lot of remedial work on his action." The Sri Lankan selectors meanwhile made several changes ahead of the triangular series, replacing six players for the Limited Overs trophy.
One-day specialists Avishka Gunawardena, Chamara Silva, Naveed Nawaz, Pramodya Wickremesinghe and Romesh Kaluwitharana will replace Aravinda de Silva, Hashan Tillekeratne, Prasanna Jayawardena, Ruchira Perera, Thiland Samaraweera and Erik Upashantha. The new additions helped Sri Lanka clinch confidence-boosting victories over Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire ahead of the Trent Bridge clash. However, the 1996 World Cup champions will struggle to overcome the loss of off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan, who was sent home earlier this month after aggravating a shoulder injury. Muralitharan, so often Sri Lanka's match-winner, has been highly-effective in international Limited Overs cricket with 276 wickets from 188 matches. Yet with Muralitharan out injured, Chaminda Vaas will lead the wicket-shy Sri Lankan attack which will aim to frustrate its opponents and hope its explosive batting line- up led by Sanath Jayasuriya can save the day.
India will play their first match of the triangular series against England at Lord's on Saturday. The tourists are struggling for form, losing by 21 runs to Kent on Monday. Former England all-rounder Mark Ealham was destroyer-in-chief smashing a run-a-ball 74 before he raced through the Indian tail to claim four wickets. Monday's defeat showed that the Indians lack a fearsome strike bowler after Javagal Srinath's unexpected retirement after the West Indies tour earlier this year. Left-arm seamers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra will share the new-ball, but India's thin bowling attack was exposed by Kent, which feasted on the punchless attack for 284 runs.
Indian coach John Wright will once again have to rely on the glittering middle order of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Venkatsai Laxman to bludgeon India to victory. However, the tourists will have to overcome a mental barrier in order to win the June 27 to July 13 triangular series as India has earned the dubious reputation of choking under big-match pressure after losing nine One-day finals involving three or more teams since April 1999.