Sri Lanka will fight fire with fire against England – Angelo Mathews

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews knows exactly what it takes to beat England at a World Cup and the veteran batter is promising to “fight fire with fire” when the sides meet in Bengaluru.

Mathews has only been an official part of the squad for 24 hours, called up as an injury replacement for Matheesha Pathirana after being left out of the original line-up, but goes straight into the side on Thursday.

The 35-year-old brings bundles of hard-bitten experience with him, including a few memorable tussles with England over the years.

Angelo Mathews scored a wonderful Test century at Headingley in 2014.
Angelo Mathews scored a wonderful Test century at Headingley in 2014 (Lynne Cameron/PA)

There have been Test centuries at Lord’s, Headingley and Galle, as well as a brilliant knock in a losing cause in the T20 World Cup of 2016.

But most relevant to the task at hand was the dogged 85 not out in Leeds four years ago, a match-winning effort that threatened to derail what became a triumphant tournament for Eoin Morgan’s men.

Neither team can afford to lose at the Chinnaswamy Stadium this time, leaving Mathews ready for a high-octane affair.

“We have to fight fire with fire because we know they will come really hard at us,” he said.

“Obviously we have to play our ‘A’ game against a very strong England team. Even though they haven’t played to their potential they are a very dangerous team.

“We know their brand of cricket is all about being positive; if you take a backward step they are going to jump all over you and take the advantage. They can hurt us badly if we are complacent.”

Mathews also made it clear the expertise and inside knowledge of former England head coach Chris Silverwood, who now sits in their dressing room, has not gone to waste.

“Chris knows most of their players in and out, we’ve had discussions about their team as well,” he said.