Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

England tour to Sri Lanka 2018: All you need to know

Five one-day internationals, one Twenty20 and three Test matches lay ahead as England start a new era without Alastair Cook

Fresh from beating India 4-1 on home soil in a Test series that will live long in the memory, England have jetted into Colombo ready for a couple of months of steaming hot weather and sharp-turning wickets as Sri Lanka aim to put them in a spin.

For the hosts it will be an opportunity to restore some pride after their diabolical showing at the Asia Cup in the UAE where they lost to Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Here's all you need to know about England's tour to Sri Lanka:



The two teams will meet in five one-day internationals, one Twenty20 and three Test matches. First though, England have two warm-up matches on October 5 and October 6 in Colombo.

1st ODI - October 10, Dambulla (day/night)

2nd ODI - October 13, Dambulla

3rd ODI - October 17, Kandy (day/night)

4th ODI - October 20, Kandy

5th ODI - October 23, Colombo (day/night)

T20 - October 27, Colombo (night)

1st Test - November 6-10, Galle

2nd Test - November 14-18, Kandy

3rd Test - November 23-27, Colombo


LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Alastair Cook of England returns to the pavilion after being dismissed for 147 in his last Test match innings during the Specsavers 5th Test - Day Four between England and India at The Kia Oval on September 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Alastair Cook bows out of Test cricket after his century against India at The Oval. Mike Hewitt / Getty Images



It's the beginning of another new era for England as they prepare to play a Test match without Alastair Cook for the first time since May 2006. Cook bowed out in style against India, scoring a century in his final Test innings in what was his 159th consecutive match - a remarkable achievement having earlier in the summer eclipsed Alan Border's record of 153 matches in a row.

Aside from the obvious problem of how to replace Cook, there's the issue of fellow opener Keaton Jennings' lack of form against India. His top score was just 42 and he currently averages only 22 from 12 Tests. He will consider himself fortunate to be on the tour and looks likely to be joined at the top of the order by uncapped Rory Burns, who enjoyed a prolific domestic season for champions Surrey.

Should Burns come unstuck on the tricky surfaces, expect the pundits and analysts to have a field day with his rather awkward-looking technique - it's fair to say he doesn't subscribe to the notion of staying still as the bowler approaches.

TAUNTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Rory Burns of Surrey bats during day one of the Specsavers County Championship Division One match at The Cooper Associates County Ground on September 18, 2018 in Taunton, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Rory Burns has been called up as Cook's replacement. Getty Images

Batsman and occasional leg-spinner Joe Denly, 32, has made the Test squad eight years after the last of his 14 white-ball matches for England, while youngster Ollie Pope gets another chance after his debut against India.

Jack Leach joins Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in the spin department, and Olly Stone, regarded as one of if not the fastest bowler in England, will hope to make his first international appearance. If he is kept on the sidelines, he will at least be able to learn from James Anderson, who is now the highest Test wicket taker among fast bowlers and continuing his remarkable journey.

Liam Plunkett is set to miss the first three one-day internationals as he's getting married.

England Test squad: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Sri Lanka's cricket team captain Angelo Mathews looks on during after Afghanistan won the match by 91 runs the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on September 17, 2018. / AFP / ISHARA S. KODIKARA
Angelo Mathews has been dropped from the ODI team but keeps his place in the Test squad. AFP

Sri Lanka:

There's a key name missing in Sri Lanka's ODI squad - Angelo Mathews. The all-rounder was sacked as captain of the ODI side after their dismal showing in the Asia Cup and has been replaced by Dinesh Chandimal, who is now in charge in all three formats.

Mathews claimed he had been made a scapegoat for the side's poor performance in the UAE, and threatened to retire from the two shorter formats. His running between the wickets has been called into focus, with chief selector Graeme Labrooy describing him as "sluggish".

Opening batsman Kaushal Silva and left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara have been recalled to the Test squad which includes five spinners. Among them is 40-year-old Rangana Herath, the taker of 19 wickets in two matches against England in Sri Lanka, and he now has 430 in total to his name. His left-armers may look innocuous but expect England's batsmen to frequently get themselves in a pickle.

Sri Lanka's recent Test series have been a 1-1 draw in the West Indies and a 2-0 victory at home against South Africa in which their spinners were at full force, bowling South Africa out for just 73 in their second innings in the first Test at Galle.

Sri Lanka Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Malinda Pushpakumara, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan, Lahiru Kumara (subject to fitness).

Sri Lanka ODI squad: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Upul Tharanga, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha.


Sri Lankan cricketer Rangana Herath takes part in a training session at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) cricket stadium in Colombo on July 18, 2018, ahead of the second Test match between Sri Lanka and South Africa. / AFP / Ishara S. KODIKARA
Rangana Herath has enjoyed success against England in the past. AFP

Last time around

You have to go back as far as early 2012 to find an England Test series in Sri Lanka.

The hosts won the first Test in Galle by 75 runs, with key performances from Mahela Jayawardene - 180 in the first innings - and Herath, who took 12 wickets in the match.

England fought back in the second Test in Colombo, winning by eight wickets. Jayawardene again scored a century, while Kevin Pietersen responded with a ton of his own. Graeme Swann enjoyed a ten-wicket haul in the match and Herath took six wickets in the first innings but couldn't stop Cook and Pietersen from easing England to victory in the second.

More recently, England played seven one-day internationals in Sri Lanka in 2014, losing five and winning two.


Muttiah Muralitharan faced severe scrutiny for his action but finished as the world's topmost wicket-taker in the sport. Eranga Jayawardena / AP Photo
Muttiah Muralitharan faced severe scrutiny for his action but finished his career as the world's top wicket-taker in Tests. AP Photo

The ghost of Murali

If you think England are bad against Herath then cast your mind back to their woes against Muttiah Muralitharan. The bendy-armed spinner amassed 112 Test wickets against England at an average of 20.

He took eight five-wickets hauls in an innings and took 10 wickets in a match against them four times, including a 16-wicket haul at the Oval in 1998 in which he claimed 9 for 65 in 54 second innings overs - extraordinary figures, even by his standards.

He had Mark Butcher stumped, Graeme Hick, Ben Hollioake and Ian Salisbury trapped lbw and Steve James, Mark Ramprakash and Dominic Cork caught out. He also bowled John Crawley and Darren Gough.

In 2006, at Trent Bridge, he was at it again, taking 8 for 70, and at one point, having taken his seventh wicket, looked on course to take all 10.


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