England's wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is well aware of the surprises the Sri Lankan spinners can spring on the day specially with wickets assisting the spinners in the sub-continent. @ Getty Images
England’s wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is well aware of the surprises the Sri Lankan spinners can spring on the day specially with wickets assisting the spinners in the sub-continent. @ Getty Images

Top-ranked England will begin their tour of Sri Lanka with the first of the five-match ODI series on Wednesday at Dambulla. The visitors enter the match as favourties with the hosts still reeling under the sacking of skipper Angelo Mathews following a dismal show at the 2018 Asia Cup.

England’s wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Butter doesn’t mind his team being called favourites, but is well aware of the surprises the Sri Lankan spinners can spring on the day specially with wickets assisting the spinners in the sub-continent.

“We’re very happy being favourites. It shows we’ve been doing good stuff and I like being favourites,” Buttler told reporters and said that his team are, “very confident” and are aiming, “to push the boundaries”.

“We’re very aware of Sri Lanka’s qualities in these conditions. They have some experienced players. It’s been tricky in the past for England sides to come here.”

Sri Lanka have lost seven of their last eight ODIs in Dambulla with one no-result. Their last win at the venue was in 2014 against Pakistan.

Newly-appointed skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who missed the Asia Cup, sent a warning sign to the opposition. “Especially for the batters it’s not easy to play. We have some mystery spinners as well.

“They got all the experience and talent and we have to compete with them. When the situation comes we have some game plans which we will have to execute.”

He hopes his team can improve their fielding. “In the last few days, we worked really hard on our fielding individually and as a group,” he said.

“That’s the biggest change we are trying to make in this series — give priority to our fielding and give it a lot of attention.”

Being the No. 1 ranked side ahead of the 2019 World Cup had its own share of pressure for England. “There is always pressure being number one. Once you get there, I think that’s when the hard work really starts. You’ve got a bit of a target on your back,” Buttler said.

“It is down to you to keep improving and try to stay there. That’s the challenge and it has its own pressures. I think in the dressing room we have a good understanding… and know that we need to keep improving and pushing the boundaries.”