After a below-par batting performance against minnows Afghanistan, England will be determined to get their act together against defending champions Sri Lanka in a group league encounter of the ICC World Twenty20, in New Delhi tomorrow.
It will be quite a test for the Joe Roots and Eoin Morgans as they will face at least 8 overs of quality spin bowling from left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay on a sluggish Kotla track.
While the match will be Sri Lanka’s third league game, the England side under Eoin Morgan will be going all out to notch up their third win in a bid to qualify for the semifinals.
England, according to legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s prediction, is the favourite to be among the four semifinalists.
With two wins out of three, a good win against a depleted Lankan side will not only enhance their chances of semifinal qualification but also become a cause of worry for other teams.
For England, the tournament so far has been a mixed bag. On a flat Wankhede deck, their batsmen fared well in both matches.
While Chris Gayle’s blazing blade saw them lose against the West Indies despite scoring 182, it was sheer brilliance of Joe Root and Jason Roy which enabled them to chase down a mammoth target of 230 against South Africa.
Root, with scores of 48 and 83 in both matches, has looked in good form.
But England’s batting got thoroughly exposed against a much weaker but spirited Afghanistan side on a tricky Feroz Shah Kotla track in their last match.
It was Moeen Ali’s rear guard action that saved them the blushes against the Afghans after being reduced to 85/7.
While English batsmen look comfortable against pacers when the ball is coming onto the bat, Herath and Vandersay might ask a few probing questions on a pitch conducive for slow bowlers.
Vandersay, who was summoned as a replacement for the injured Lasith Malinga, was impressive despite Sri Lanka’s one-sided defeat against West Indies.
Using the feet to reach the pitch of the deliveries will be the key and skipper Morgan’s IPL experience could come in very handy for the English batsmen, most of whom have little or no experience of playing on these surfaces. (Courtesy Press Trust of India)