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24-Sep-2009 15:52:00 GMT
Sri Lanka v England, Group B, Johannesburg

SL vs Eng - England Face Mendis-Murali Riddle

Johannesburg: Andrew Strauss's England face a stiff spin test when they take on a confident Sri Lanka in their opening match of the Champions Trophy on Friday.

Sri Lanka have two excellent spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, capable of making life difficult for batsmen with their subtle variations.

Unorthodox spinner Mendis played a key role in his team's stunning 55-run victory over South Africa in a rain-hit match at Centurion on Tuesday, grabbing three wickets for 30 runs.

"We have not played Mendis and some of their seam bowlers before," said Strauss.

Off-spinner Muralitharan, the world's leading wicket-taker in both Tests and One-dayers, and paceman Lasith Malinga, with his slinging action, are the other bowlers who could keep pressure on England.

Strauss conceded that England's One-day form had been a cause of concern for many years.

"In the meantime, I maintain we are capable of beating anyone but we haven't had the consistency over the years. A change in environment can make a big difference. We have to start looking forward.

England are without match-winners Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, who are recovering from injuries.

Freddie and KP are two of our best One-day cricketers. But Freddie has been out quite a lot recently and we are used to that and England have got to move on.

Team news

Sri Lanka have very little to improve upon. Sanath Jayasuriya remains a concern at the top of the order, but he'll play on until he drops, while the tireless Muttiah Muralitharan never ceases to be a menace. Lasith Malinga's round-arm hostility will be a familiar.

Squad (likely): Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilina Kandamby, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis.

England Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah have been woefully short of confidence and one of that pair could well make way to enable England to field an extra seamer. Whether Tim Bresnan ousts Graham Onions depends on how much England value his extra batting abilities.

Squad (likely): Andrew Strauss (capt), Joe Denly, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wk), Eoin Morgan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson.

Pitch and conditions
It's early in the season on the Highveld, so who knows what to expect? So far, there has been evidence of helpful bowling conditions, unsurprisingly, and there has been plenty of rain in the high-altitude air as well.

Stats and trivia

  • Jayasuriya has scored 28 ODI hundreds in 439 matches spanning 18 years. The 11 players who took the field for England in the seventh ODI at Chester-le-Street have a grand total of nine hundreds between them. Paul Collingwood, the most-capped player by a distance, has notched up 166 appearances.
  • England have played three matches at the venue, all against South Africa, and at the third attempt they recorded their first win, by 26 runs in a rain-affected contest in 2005, notable for Kevin Pietersen's hostile homecoming.
  • Sri Lanka have won only one of the four ODIs they have played at the Wanderers, and that was to avoid a 6-0 whitewash in 2000-01. Their last visit, during the 2003 World Cup, culminated in a 183-run drubbing at the hands of the eventual runners-up, India

Match facts
Friday, September 25, 2009
Start time 2:30 pm, 12:30 GMT, 18:00 SL, 13:30 EST

Head 2 Head

  England Sri Lanka
Ranking 6 5
Captain Andrew Strauss Kumar Sangakkara
Coach Andy Flower Trevor Bayliss
Highest Total chased
England won by 5 wickets on Sep 03 1988
Target Chased: 242
Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets on Jun 30 2006
Target Chased: 321
Most Prolific Batsman
Marcus Trescothick (697 Runs)
Sanath Jayasuriya (1193 Runs)
Highest Individual Score
Marcus Trescothick (697 Runs)
Sanath Jayasuriya (152 Runs)
Best Bowling Analysis
5/32 by Mark Ealham
on Jan 28 1999
6/27 by Dilhara Fernando
on Oct 12 2007
Most Prolific Bowler
Dilhara Fernando (36 Wickets)
Darren Gough (23 Wickets)
Head to head
Total Played 43, England 22, Sri Lanka 21
Current Form LLLLW LWWLW (recent last)

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