Southampton, June 15: As England gear up to take on Sri Lanka in the third and final Test of the latter's tour, the hosts will be pumped up to try and a force a win. After all, a series victory would mean that England move closer towards realising their objective of ensnaring Numero Uno status in Test cricket.
Sri Lanka in the meantime, will be looking to consolidate its second place alongside South Africa with a drawn series. But with captain and premier batsman Tillakratne Dilshan out of the equation due to a fractured thumb, a laveller in the upcoming Test seems an unlikely prospect for the visitors. This is especially the case due to the fact that Dilshan has been side's top run-scorer in the series so far.
His absence would mean that Lanka's next two batsman in the list of run-makers - Nuwan Paravitana and Prasanna Jayawardene will have to step up to the plate and compensate. Paranavitana has an average of 43.75 while Prasanna has recorded 55.66 in the series thus far.
England on the other hand, possess veritable trump cards in Alastair Cook, who is averaging a phenomenal 111.66 and his top-order side-kick Jonathan Trott, who has 87.66. Cook could prove especially problematic for the Lankans as he has scored 6 centuries in his last 9 Test appearance.
To add to Sri Lanka's woes, off-break Graeme Smith is looking ominous seeing as he is the top-wicket taker in the tour, taking 10 scalps from two matches at an average of 21.40. The tall seamer Chris Tremlett is right behind Swann with 8 wickets.
Though one could argue that Sri Lanka's forte is spin, only Rangana Herath has emerged in the top three wicket-takers with just 6 scalps at an unimpressive average of 44.33. He will certainly have to up his game, if Sri Lanka is to entertain any hopes of turning the tables on England.
The Rose Bowl where the third Test will unfold is a happy hunting ground for England as they have won two ODIs here and a Test against Pakistan in the last year.