Leeds - Kaushal Silva has urged Sri Lanka
to fill the void left by Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara when they
return to the scene of one their greatest triumphs for the first Test against
England at Headingley on Thursday.
Two years ago, Yorkshire's headquarters
ground was the stage where Sri Lanka clinched a dramatic victory off the
penultimate ball to secure their first Test series win in England.
But their first tour of England since that
campaign sees them without Sangakkara and Jayawardene, both now retired from
"We did well here," said Silva,
an opening batsman who played in that victorious 2013 team, at Headingley on
"We were thrilled with that, but this
is a new series.
"Sanga and Mahela have left now. So
it's time for all these youngsters to take their responsibility and do their
"We need to make sure we put up at
least 300 ... to put ourselves in the game."
Sri Lanka will also be without injured
paceman Dhammika Prasad, whose five second-innings wickets played a key role in
the tourists' 2014 victory at Headingley.
"He is one of the key bowlers, and
obviously we'll miss him," said Silva ahead of the three-Test series.
"But we have other very talented
bowlers," he added of an attack that also includes Suranga Lakmal and
Nuwan Pradeep, as well as the decidedly sharp Dushmantha Chameera.
Sri Lanka will again be captained by Angelo
Mathews, with the all-rounder's excellent hundred paving the way for their
success at Headingley two years ago.
The once feared pitch at Headingley, in
Leeds, northern England, is now generally a good surface to bat on, albeit one
with pace and bounce, and overhead conditions largely determine how much
assistance a seam attack will receive.
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie said it was
important bowlers avoided a "pretty length".
"Sometimes if fast bowlers see the
ball whizzing through to the keeper at chest height a bit of ego then comes
into play," the former Australia quick told the Sunday Times.
"It is that 'pretty length'. It looks
good but is it actually challenging the batsmen and putting him under
England have a poor recent record at
Headingley, with just one win and four defeats at the northern venue since
In their first Test campaign since a series
win in South Africa, England will have to decide whether to give a debut to
Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball, who has made an impressive start to the county
season, or retain Steven Finn as the third seamer behind James Anderson and
Stuart Broad -- now the world's number-one ranked Test bowler.
Hampshire batsman James Vince is set to
make his Test bow, following the enforced retirement of James Taylor with a
heart condition, in a batting line-up featuring Joe Root - recently crowned
England's player of the year in all formats - and Yorkshire colleague Jonny
England captain Alastair Cook needs just 36
more runs to become the first Englishman to reach 10 000 in Tests.
By contrast, Alex Hales, Cook's opening
partner, and number three Nick Compton both go into the match badly needing
rather larger scores to cement their places.
"There is a bit of revenge to be
had," said Broad, reflecting on a 2014 series which saw Cook, severely
criticised for tactical naivety, contemplate resigning the England captaincy
after the Headingley defeat by Sri Lanka.
"It was quite an emotional series, it
really hurt us as a team to lose in our own conditions."
Thursday's match is set to break fresh
ground by being the first in men's cricket where a new points system, modelled
on the one used by England and Australia for the women's Ashes, will be
In a bid to provide further
"context", the results of all the international fixtures this season
between England and Sri Lanka will be put together to produce an overall
Details on how points will be allocated
between Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20s are expected to be
announced later on Wednesday.