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Cricinfo Preview - Sri Lanka v England ODI series

Sri Lanka v England ODI series
October 1 - 13


Sri Lanka start as favourites in Dambulla showdown

The Ashes may be the ultimate for an England cricketer, and a trip to India the highlight of the subcontinent experience, but no-one who's played in Sri Lanka in the last decade dares to underestimate the challenge they pose. The heat and humidity of the Dambulla Jungle, and the raucous intensity of a floodlit one-day game, ensures that England will need to be at the top of their game for the challenge that awaits them this month. Their disappointing performance in the ICC World Twenty20 adds an extra frisson of urgency to their challenge, but on home soil and in their favoured form of the game, the Sri Lankans start as firm favourites, especially now that Andrew Flintoff has been forced to withdraw from the tour with a recurrence of his ankle problem.

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Can Lasith Malinga return to the peak of the powers he showed at the World Cup in April?
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  England: 1 Paul Collingwood (capt), 2 James Anderson, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Stuart Broad, 6 Alastair Cook, 7 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 8 Phil Mustard (wk), 9 Monty Panesar, 10 Kevin Pietersen, 11 Owais Shah, 12 Ryan Sidebottom, 13 Graeme Swann, 14 Chris Tremlett, 15 Luke Wright.

Sri Lanka:
1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Tillekaratne Dilshan, 3 Dilhara Fernando, 4 Sanath Jayasuriya, 5 Kaushal Lokuarachchi, 6 Farveez Maharoof, 7 Lasith Malinga, 8 Jehan Mubarak, 9 Muttiah Muralitharan, 10 Dilruwan Perera, 11 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 12 Chamara Silva, 13 Upul Tharanga, 14 Chaminda Vaas, 15 Gayan Wijekoon.

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Your guide to who's hot and who's not in the Sri Lanka v England ODI series.
Kevin Pietersen He had a quiet time in coloured clothing in the English summer, and only really came into his own in the series clincher against India at Lord's. But in South Africa Pietersen was once again the king-pin of England's batting line-up, and it was he who propelled Englandís sole victory of the campaign, against Zimbabwe at Newlands. On his first Sri Lanka tour, and in the absence of Flintoff, Pietersen is Englandís de facto vice-captain. The added responsibility will undoubtedly bring out the best of his unfettered stroke play.
Sanath Jayasuriya It's more than a decade since Jayasuriya became a cult hero in Sri Lanka for his pinch-hitting heroics in the 1996 World Cup, but at the World Twenty20 last week he showed that, even at the age of 38, he's lost none of the ebullience that has made him his country's leading run-scorer in all forms of the game. His 44-ball 88 against Kenya propelled Sri Lanka to the highest total yet recorded in the 20-over game, and as a natural-born revolutionary, he'll be itching to translate that sort of form to the longer version of the shorter game.
Kumar Sangakkara Any wicketkeeper-batsman who succeeds in usurping Adam Gilchrist in the ICC's team of the year deserves the utmost respect, but Kumar Sangakkara has not been at the top of his one-day game in recent months. He managed just 40 runs in three ODIs against Bangladesh in July, and then averaged 20.80 in the Twenty20s. But having said that, he did pick up back-to-back unbeaten double-centuries in the Test series against Bangladesh. His class will surely win out in the end.
Stuart Broad Poor Stuart Broad isn't exactly out of form, but there can be few more galling experiences in a fast bowler's career than to be smacked for six sixes in an over, in an England shirt to boot. His mauling at the hands of Yuvraj Singh at Durban was a mighty setback for a young and hugely promising player whose career has been on an upward curve all year long. It will be fascinating to see how he bounces back on Sri Lanka's Spartan strips, and against another battery of big-hitters led by Sanath Jayasuriya.


  Lasith Malinga Sri Lanka's superstar of the 2007 World Cup has had a quieter time of late. He endured a desperate sojourn at Kent this summer, managing just two first-class wickets at 98.50 in four matches, and although he picked up seven wickets in the Twenty20s, he was called upon for just one belated over in the rout against Australia. With his rampant round-arm slingshots, he is the one Sri Lankan bowler with the X-factor to make a difference to any given match, especially given the likely absence of Muttiah Muralitharan.


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