Home > News >

Alastair Cook’s new-look England seek home comfort against Sri Lanka

Alastair Cook led England to a 0-5 Ashes 2013-14 defeat against Australia © Getty Images
Alastair Cook led England to a 0-5 Ashes 2013-14 defeat against Australia © Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

London: Jun 11, 2014

England will look to put the memory of their 5-0 Ashes 2013-14 drubbing in Australia behind them and prove there is Test life beyond Kevin Pietersen when they face Sri Lanka in the first of a two-match series at Lord’s on Thursday. And with England still smarting from the run out, backing up, of Jos Buttler during Sri Lanka’s 3-2 series-clinching one-day win at Edgbaston, the Test campaign has been “spiced up” in the words of home captain Alastair Cook.

Six players who featured in England’s last Test, a crushing 281-run defeat by Australia aren’t in England’s 12 for Lord’s. Star batsman Pietersen, whose international career was terminated by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after the Ashes on account of his ‘distracted’ nature is the most high-profile absentee.

But he has been joined on the sidelines by opener Michael Carberry, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, seamer Boyd Rankin, leg-spinner Scott Borthwick and Ben Stokes, although it was a lack of match fitness that lay behind the all-rounder’s omission.

England’s team could feature three debutants in Australia-born opener Sam Robson, who plays at Lord’s for Middlesex and all-rounder Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali, both of whom have played One-Day Internationals (ODIs).

Meanwhile, fast bowler Liam Plunkett, whose ability to bowl at 90mph is something England hope will unsettle the tourists’ batsmen even on what is set to be a typically good Lord’s pitch, is in line for a recall seven years after his first Test.

Thursday’s match will also mark England’s first Test since Peter Moores began his second spell as head coach. For all England capitulated in Australia, in the last five years they have won 21 out of 33 home Tests, drawing eight and losing just four.

Sri Lanka have never won a Test series of more than one match in England. It is a record veteran batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene would love to alter on what is set to be the duo’s last tour of Britain and their team may not have a better chance given the later than usual start to the series minimises the impact of ‘English’ conditions.

Sri Lanka will hope the likes of seamer Shamina Eranga and compact opener Kaushal Silva can shine in cricket’s most celebrated arena. Thirteen Tests have now passed since England, who have recalled wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior despite his troublesome Achilles injury, managed the benchmark score of 400 in an innings.

Top-order batsmam Ian Bell, set to play his 99th Test at Lord’s, knows that statistic must change if England are to enjoy sustained success.

“You’re looking for the senior players to lead the way…We are the men who have been there and done it and scored the big hundreds, so it is time for us to do so again,” said Bell.

If they, or someone else in the revamped top order, doesn’t deliver then expect those England fans already perplexed by the ECB’s somewhat vague explanation for ditching Pietersen to wonder again as to how the side can do without a player of his talent.

“I don’t know the reasons for KP’s exclusion but the fact remains that he’s an amazing player,” Sangakkara told on Monday’s edition of online magazine Wisden EXTRA.

“Of course, as an opposition player I’m not disappointed he’s not around.”Someone who knows all about performing at Lord’s is Jayawardene, both of whose two Test hundreds in England have come at the ‘home of cricket’.

Yet Sangakkara, who has a spectacular career Test average of over 58, averages a mere 30.6 in England.

The two batting mainstays are now captained by Angelo Mathews who, in refusing to allow the Butler appeal to be withdrawn, showed himself to be the latest in a long line of determined Sri Lanka skippers.

What the run-out row also did was obscure Sri Lanka’s anger that Paul Farbrace, until recently their head coach, jumped ship to join his native England where he is now working as Moores’ assistant.

“I understand the choice Farby made,” Sangakkara said ahead of the ODIs. “Whether it was fair of the ECB to put him in that situation when he was still with us is a different question. It wasn’t pleasant.”

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 27, 2014  at Bengaluru

Chennai Super Kings won by 13 runs

Photos

Cricket on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Videos

Brian Lara speaks on the art of batting

Mitchell Marsh helps Perth Scorchers clinch 3-wicket victory against Lahore Lions in CLT20 2014

Live Cricket Score Barbados Tridents vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 20: Dilshan Munaweera, Raymon Reifer give Barbados a good start

Gautam Gambhir becomes second player after MS Dhoni to captain in 100 T20 matches

Consecutive century opening partnerships in ODIs for each team

Have Manish Pandey’s T20 performances eclipsed his impressive First-Class record?

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Barbados Tridents Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins Incheon Asian Games 2014 India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Perth Scorchers

Barbados Tridents vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 20: Knights set target of 138 (D/L) in 19 overs

PCB unhappy with bouncy tracks at Dubai for Australia series

Lahore Lions out of CLT20 2014, but Pakistan should be proud of them

Chris Gayle hopes to get back in shape before the Test series against India

Barbados Tridents vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 20: Match stopped due to rain

Gautam Gambhir becomes second player after MS Dhoni to captain in 100 T20 matches

Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers Match 19 CLT20 2014: Lahore likely XI

CLT20 2014: Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers Match 19 — Key Battles

Consecutive century opening partnerships in ODIs for each team

Players scoring 50-plus in both innings of a Test match most number of times

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

Bigg Boss 8 Day 8 recap: Gautam Gulathi faces punishment

Samsung reportedly manufacturing displays for Apple’s iPad Air 2, and iPad Pro

Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Irrfan Khan, Pankaj Kapur and Tabu launch Vishal Bhardwaj’s books!

Alcohol could leave you sleepless even after you have quit

Health Minister says UHAM to be world’s largest public health insurance programme

Is Nawazuddin Siddiqui charging Rs 1 crore for Shahid Kapoor’s Farzi after the success of Salman Khan’s Kick?

Vadodara Riots: More than 200 people arrested, shops opened as there are no fresh flare ups

Ello might be ad-free, but it is far from claiming Facebook’s throne

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here