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.”

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Australia perpare for 1st Test against Pakistan

Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015 bleak: Mohammad Zahid

Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test in Dubai Preview: Motivated Pakistan look to hurt rusty Australia

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli as captain, and other points of interest from squad for first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni gets much-needed break ahead of Australia tour

A Pakistan all-time XI: A galaxy of captains

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa West Indies West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

West Indies cancel tour to India: ICC says it does not have power to intervene

Aditya Garhwal slams 196 in 50-over match for Rajasthan under-19 XI

Loughborough becomes latest ICC-accredited testing centre

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan’s ton takes Pakistan to 219/4 on Day 1

Shahid Afridi wins it for his team in an exhibition match for displaced at Bannu

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Younis Khan becomes 12th batsman with a ton against each of the Test-playing nations

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Revealed: Aamir Khan’s alien avatar in PK- View pic!

Latest Moto 360 software update brings battery saving feature and mood lighting

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone at the Dubai press conference for Happy New Year-view pic!

Kill Dil song G Phaad Ke: Govinda steals Saif Ali Khan’s thunder

इबोला से संक्रमित अमेरिकी फोटोग्राफर विषाणु मुक्त घोषित

इबोला : अंतर्राष्ट्रीय लड़ाई में क्यूबा का साथ देगा अमेरिका

Novak Djokovic names new-born son Stefan

Lenovo RocStar music-focused Android KitKat smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus audio launched in India, priced at Rs 6,499

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here