Eng look to new stars against SL

England is looking to Stuart Broad and Dimitri Mascarenhas to turn the five-match series against Sri Lanka that starts on Monday.

updated: October 08, 2007 17:32 IST
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England is looking to Stuart Broad and Dimitri Mascarenhas to turn the five-match series against Sri Lanka that starts on Monday.

England is on a losing streak against Sri Lanka, which was runner-up to Australia at this year's one-day World Cup.

A narrow defeat at the World Cup in Antigua followed last year's 5-0 home series loss.

"The last series was a bitter disappointment for us," England captain Paul Collingwood said.

"There were a few things that we didn't do well and Sri Lanka were playing awesomely well. But the good thing is that we have a few new match winners like Dimi and Stuart and if their good form continues it can be our series," he added.

The first three matches of the series will be played under lights at Rangiri Dambulla Stadium in the central tourist town of Dambulla.

The teams will return to capital Colombo for the remaining two matches, also day/night games at R Premadasa Stadium.

England will be tested by the second ranked team, but Mascarenhas and Broad impressed during a recent 4-3 series win over India.

Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene said he is wary of England's young talent.

"The 2006 series indeed was a turning point," Jayawardene said.

"We have continued in that good form for months now, but having said that, we'll not be relaxing against England. They have some quality players," he added.

England will be handicapped without all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who pulled out of the series with an ankle problem.

"Freddie (Flintoff) is two players in one, I have always said that," Collingwood said. "He's a class act. We'll obviously miss him as he was in good form too"

Top order batsmen Luke Wright, Alastair Cook, seamer Broad and captain Collingwood are expected to be fit for Monday's opening game after recovering from a stomach bug.

Sri Lanka too are having selection worries after star off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was ruled out of at least the first two matches with a bicep injury.

"We have a lot of important series coming through and it's important not to rush him when he's injured," Jayawardene said.

Leg-spinning all-rounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi is expected to fill in for Muralitharan.


Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas, Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Jehan Mubarak, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Farveez Maharoof, Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Gayan Wijekoon, Dilruwan Perera.

England: Paul Collingwood (captain), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Chris Tremlett, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Phil Mustard, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.