Cricket World Cup 2015

Atapattu wary of wounded England

2015-02-28 10:00
Marvan Atapattu (Gallo Images)

Wellington - Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu has insisted his side won't underestimate a faltering England when the teams meet in the World Cup in Wellington on Sunday.

England have yet to beat a Test nation at the tournament so far, having been thrashed by co-hosts Australia (111 runs) and New Zealand (eight wickets) before seeing off Scotland last time out.

Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, were also beaten by New Zealand before defeating Afghanistan and Bangladesh to leave them second in Pool A heading into this weekend's matches.

"They have a fantastic seam bowling line-up there," Atapattu said Saturday of England's attack.

"The format is such that we've got to guard against being complacent. We've just got to play the best cricket that we can on the day.

"They (England) are a balanced side. It is just that I don't think they can be very happy about how things have unrolled for them in the recent past," the former Sri Lanka batsman added.

"Having said that, they have made it to the (tri-series) final against Australia in Australia. That's always a positive.

"Having mentioned about peaking at the right time, I think India is a classic example," Atapattu said of the defending champions, who have put poor pre-tournament form behind them with Pool B wins over Pakistan and South Africa

"A victory against good opposition, a good performance would obviously boost, and I'm sure England is looking forward to that.

"It can be their batting -- they've got some terrific batsmen in their first seven, and if not, they've got the best seaming attack on the day."

Reflecting on Sri Lanka's form, Atapattu said: "The last two games have been good for us, although it was a very close game against Afghanistan. Having said that, we would expect our No. 8 to score the way he scored in the Dunedin game."

When England played at Wellington's Westpac Stadium last week they were shot out for just 123 by New Zealand, with Tim Southee getting plenty of swing on his way to a stunning haul of seven for 33.

England captain Eoin Morgan has suggested he hopes there's as much swing on offer on Sunday, although the Sri Lankans could yet do some damage in those conditions if Lasith Malinga is at his best.

"Any batsman wouldn't like the ball swinging too much, our batsmen, their batsmen," said Atapattu.

"At the end of the day, it's the skill Southee had. Not too many bowlers in that line-up apart from Southee swung the ball on that day.

"If it swings, I think any batsman would struggle. He won't be in his comfort zone."

Read more on:    sri lanka  |  england  |  cwc 2015  |  cricket
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