x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Sri Lanka get ready to deal with Eoin Morgan

England batsmen, particularly left-hander, will throw home team a different challenge at World Twenty20, says captain Mahela Jayawardene.

The England batsmen practise during their nets session in Kandy today. The defending champions' line-up will once again bat around Eoin Morgan against Sri Lanka at Pallekele tomorrow. Gareth Copley / Getty Images
The England batsmen practise during their nets session in Kandy today. The defending champions' line-up will once again bat around Eoin Morgan against Sri Lanka at Pallekele tomorrow. Gareth Copley / Getty Images

Mahela Jayawardene is wary of England's Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright and believes dismissing the devastating duo cheaply in tomorrow's World Twenty20 clash is the key to maintaining Sri Lanka's winning momentum.

In the Super Eights, the hosts won a close match against New Zealand in their first match, while a thumping nine-wicket victory against the West Indies on Saturday took them to the top of the table in Group 1.

Sri Lanka meet the holders England in their final Super Eight match at Pallekele.

"In any game winning is a good habit, we need to get the momentum. We are excited to play defending champions England," Jayawardene, the captain, said.

"They will throw us a different challenge and we are looking forward to it."

Despite Morgan's heroics with the bat when he hit 71 from 36 balls, England lost their first Super Eights match to West Indies but bounced back to keep alive their title defence with a six-wicket victory against New Zealand on Saturday.

Jayawardene said he was aware of the batting exploits of Morgan and Wright, who were the main contributors against the Black Caps. Wright made 76 from 43 deliveries while Morgan's 30 included four sixes in seven balls.

"Those two guys have been around for a while. Eoin has been playing regularly, Luke not so regularly but he has been travelling a lot," Jayawardene said.

"Luke has played a lot of T20 cricket also and England is an exciting team when we saw them play in Colombo. They have some quality players and it should be a very good game."

Meanwhile, Morgan said yesterday he was comfortable assuming a senior role in the England dressing room. His billing as the wise head in the team's middle order has been a consequence of Kevin Pietersen's absence.

"I think the role that I play within the side has changed over the last six to 12 months," Morgan said.

"The responsibility on my shoulders is one that I enjoy.

"I relish batting in the middle order and towards the end of the innings, and nurturing guys along and getting us over the line. It's a role I enjoy a lot."

England promoted Jonny Bairstow, to no avail, ahead of Morgan against the West Indies – and Stuart Broad, the captain, and Morgan himself, have since pointed out his suitability to batting after the six-over power play.

"My skills as a middle-order batter – and the stats back it up – the success I've had all guide towards batting from six to 20 overs," said Morgan. "When I get in early in those six overs, I don't seem to do well.

"Having looked at my strengths within the side, everything seems to point to me batting in the middle order, seeing things through and enjoying the responsibility and playing the situations."

England will not be fazed either by what is sure to be a full house of noisy home support.

"It's brilliant. It's cricket in the subcontinent. The home teams out here get absolutely huge crowds, noise like you've never heard as a cricketer," Morgan said.

"It really gets the blood flowing. It will be a great experience."

Meanwhile, Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, said his team would consider including Samuel Badree as an extra spinner in tomorrow’s crucial match against New Zealand.

“There’s a bit of possibility that Badree could play. It’s horses for courses,” Sammy said. “If it is dry like it is on Monday he stands a good chance of playing.”

The West Indies batsmen struggled against Sri Lanka’s spinners but Sammy said the team had enough experience to adapt to the turning wickets.

“At the start of the tournament the ball was coming through but as the tournament went on we expected the pitches in Sri Lanka to have low and slow turn type of wickets,” Sammy said. “We have enough experience in the dressing room to adapt to such conditions.”

New Zealand have the slimmest chance of making it to semi-finals, having lost both their Super Eights matches.

They need to beat West Indies by a big margin and hope that Sri Lanka defeat England in the second match tomorrow.

Daniel Vettori, the former New Zealand captain, said Sri Lanka’s thumping win against the West Indies has given them some hope.

“It was disappointing to lose to England, a game we should have won,” Vettori said. “We slipped up in that game and now we find ourselves fighting to stay in the competition. We can take a lot of positives the way Sri Lanka beat West Indies. Hope we can come up with something to pull off a win.”


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