Match Preview: England v Sri Lanka

2015 World Cup

Venue

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Team news

Neither of these sides are in the most sparkling for coming into this encounter in Wellington, with England losing to both co-hosts and Sri Lanka winning two games they were expected to triumph in.

Both teams lost to New Zealand in the first few days of the tournament, and come into this game needing some points on the board. Sri Lanka have salvaged things on the surface but they were expected wins against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

England got one in the win column with victory over Scotland, so this will be their first proper test since losing to the Aussies and Kiwis. They batting line up will have to cope with more a more stringent challenge in Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal.

All eyes will be on Moeen Ali again, after his century against the Scots, while the rest of the batting order will be eager to impress after failing to capitalise as much as they'd have liked in that game, the middle order faltering.

Gary Ballance, if he plays, will be under a lot of pressure to score as he's made three scores of 10 in three games. Eoin Morgan will also be eager to convert one of a few 40s into a half ton, as he slowly finds form again.

Sri Lanka's batting has, as is often the case, been boosted by veterans Tillekaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, centurions in the tournament already, and if the likes of Steve Finn can remove them early, England's chances will be dramatically improved.

One thing Sri Lanka will hope has drastically changed is their fielding, after dropping three catches against Bangladesh. Sri Lanka re usually very good in this regard, and England's batsmen won't be as forgiving of second chances.

Last encounter

Their last encounter was relatively recent, in a seven-match ODI series in Sri Lanka last December. Sri Lanka won that one five-two, but fairly decent margins each time. The final match of that series saw Sri Lanka win by 87 runs in Colombo, with a Dilshan century seeing them post 302. Joe Root made 80 but England were all out for 215, with Dilshan taking three with his spin.

World Cup meetings

The sides met in the quarter finals in 2011, where Sri Lanka chased down the 230 required with 10 wickets in hand. Jonathan Trott's 86 saw England to 229 for six, and then Upul Tharanga and Dilshan scored unbeaten tons to win with 10 overs to spare.

In the Caribbean in 2007 it was a much closer affair in the Super Eights, with Sri Lanka winning by just two runs. They made 235 all out, with Sajid Mahmood and Andrew Flintoff taking the wickets, and then England reached 233 for eight. Ravi Bopara, on 52, was out off the last ball while trying to get the winning runs.

Key players

For Sri Lanka, they will look to paceman Lasith Malinga for his swing and death bowling accuracy. This deck was the one where Tim Southee took seven wickets against England, so Malinga could clean up if he gets his yorker on song.

England opener Ian Bell scored a half ton against Scotland and has been relatively solid all round, and a good platform at the top will be vital. He's got the experience and patience to keep his side together here if he gets set.

Umpires

Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker Chris Gaffaney (3rd umpire), David Boon (match referee)

Weather

Clear as a bell all day, but cool as temperatures won't go much higher than 21 degrees at any point. Perfect for the England lads.

Prediction

These two sides are becoming more unpredictable than Pakistan lately, so it's a tough one. We'll go with Sri Lanka, with their veteran batsmen doing the job once again.

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