The two Test playing nations will be up against each other in the Group A match at Wellington in New Zealand at 3:30 am I.S.T. England after suffering two huge losses against Australia and New Zealand came back well and bashed to minnows Scotland to register their first win. On the other hand, Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand in the opening match of the World Cup, struggled to beat Afghanistan but dominated Bangladesh and are now sitting comfortably with 4 points and 3 matches to go. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, both senior batsmen have got centuries and are looking in good form. Dilshan also got a century against Bangladesh and his run at the top is crucial for Sri Lanka. For that, he has to face the likes of James Anderson, who will swing away the ball which has caused trouble to Dilshan.
English batsmen looked nothing in front of the Kiwi bowlers and were bundled out for a mere 123. Their bowling had a beating too with Brendon McCullum going berserk. Steven Finn went for 49 in his 2 overs and England as the inventors of cricket lost a match before half of the time. They lost the match with so much time left that it felt like England would invent a new game in that time, teach it to the New Zealanders and still lose in it.
But, they came back very strongly against their neighbours Scotland where Moeen Ali scored a brilliant century. Bowling was good too and they dominated the entire game against Scotland. However, they are yet to beat a Test Team and Sri Lanka is a good and on par challenge for them.
Having beaten by the co-hosts New Zealand, Sri Lanka almost suffered an upset against Afghanistan, but thanks to Mahela Jayawardena and Thisara Perera, they got to the line. The top 3 of the Sri Lankan batting, Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene have scored centuries and they are in good form going ahead in this game against England. The bowling has looked ordinary though taking into consideration that Lasith Malinga hasn’t delivered and hasn’t gone on to meet the expectations. In their previous series of 7 matches, Sri Lanka won it 5-2. So, it looks like that Sri Lanka might have a psychological advantage over the poms.
Previous World Cup encounters:
1983 WC- England won by 9 wickets
1987 WC- England won by 108 runs
England won by 8 wickets
1992 WC- England won by 106 runs
1996 WC- Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets
1999 WC- England won by 8 wickets
2007 WC- Sri Lanka won by 2 runs
2011 WC- Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets
Key players to watch out for
England: Moeen Ali
Who else does England have at this stage? Joe Root? Sorry, no. Moeen Ali scored an exceptional century against Scotland and he has to carry that momentum in this match too if England has to win this one. He is man England would be looking for a good start at the top along with Ian Bell
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga
He hasn’t set the stage on fire in Sri Lanka’s matches in this World Cup so far, and looking at England’s batting, it is right opportunity for a man like Malinga to get back to his strength and bowl Yorkers. He is the key man for Sri Lanka and England need to play him watchfully if they want good rewards later in the game.
Probable playing XI:
Moeen Ali, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), James Taylor, Jos Butler (wk), Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steven Finn
Lahiru Thirimanne, TM Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Dimuth Karurathne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathhews (C), Thisara Perera, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal