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.”

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 3: Central Zone 25/0 after five overs

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 2

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Andy Roberts wants WICB to investigate cause for India tour call-off

N Srinivasan praises Nepal, Uganda for making ICC World Cricket League Division 2 cut

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Australia’s foremost cricketing fan misses out on tour to UAE

Arjun Tendulkar to tour South Africa

South Zone bowled out for 379 against Central Zone in Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here