England vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test at Lords: Preview

Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011, 13:58 [IST]
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Eng vs SL: 2nd Test preview

London, Jun 2: With the last session humiliation over, it is now time for Sri Lanka to shed their poor overseas travellers image or esse they run the risk of being called cry babies who just cannot come to terms with India's no.1 ranking in Tests. Remember the hue and cry they created when India last toured the island nation and some suggested that the ranking is not an actual indicator of which is the better team.

Leaving aside India for the moment, England are well on course to further press their claims for being the best side in Test cricket. If they maul Sri Lanka in the second Test starting at Lords on Jun 3, they will further inch towards the coveted no.1 crown. But if Sri Lanka manage to pull of a heist, then given the completely alien conditions to the Dilshan-led side, England will be in a serious spot of bother.

Coming in to Sri Lanka's undoing in the last match, their batting collapse in the second innings, England feel they are in with a chance if they stuff their line up with tall and accurate bowlers like Chris Tremlett. With Anderson, out due to an injury, England can certainly afford to field their tallest fast bowling line-up ever by adding Steven Finn to the playing eleven.

If Strauss and Flower think otherwise and only for the sake of variety go in with someone else, they are unlikely to repent on that, but for the long term, Finn appears to be a better choice as he has proven in the limited opportunities that have fallen upon him.

The English batting looks pretty solid and the only spot of worry could be Kevin Pietersen, who seems to have made a habit of getting out to left-arm spinners. With Rangana Herath, almost a certainty in the Sri Lankan line-up, Pietersen has his task cut out, to prove that he is no bunny when it comes to left-arm tweakers.

Pietersen apart, all other English batsmen seem to be in good form and given Sri Lanka's depleted bowling resources, they can be expected to make merry on Lord's wicket.

Sri Lankan batting, despite a good show in the first innings of the previous Test, appear a bit vulnerable against the English bowling. Dilshan must decide on how to best use his attacking instincts than just throwing up his wicket after good starts. He can certainly take a cue from Virender Sehwag, who is even more aggressive in batting than Dilshan, but still scores big and rarely falls after a good start.

His opening partner, Paravitarana has for once staked claim to be an ideal foil to Dilshan's flamboyant methods. Sangakkara, has to once again, remain the fulcrum on which the Sri Lankan batting has to revolve because for the moment, it seems that Jayawardene can't do anything to change his reputation of being a poor overseas batsman. But Lords is a venue, where he has done well and will certainly be looking for inspiration to turn things around.

But as things appear and unless rain intervenes for a considerably longer period of time, England appear favourites to beat Sri Lanka and seal the series.

OneIndia Cricket

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