Sri Lanka look to assault England with spin

Updated: 25 March 2012 15:19 IST

Sri Lanka will follow Pakistan's lead and confront England with spin when the two-Test series starts here from Monday.

Sri Lanka look to assault England with spin
©

Galle:

Sri Lanka will follow Pakistan's lead and confront England with spin when the two-Test series starts here from Monday.

England, the world's number one Test side, crashed to an embarrassing 3-0 series whitewash to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in January and February.

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal caused the maximum damage with 24 wickets, while left-arm slow bowler Abdur Rehman took 19 as England struggled on the slow wickets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Mahela Jayawardena, returning as Sri Lanka's captain in a Test match for the first time since 2009, hopes his spinners will also inflict damage on the tourists in helpful conditions.

"We have an attack that can trouble the best on our wickets," said Jayawardena, who replaced Tillakaratne Dilshan as skipper after the tour of South Africa earlier this year.

Sri Lanka, currently ranked sixth after being number two a few years ago, are still searching for ways to win Test matches without their world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan.

Since the off-spinner's retirement in 2010 with a record 800 Test and 534 one-day wickets, Sri Lanka have won just one of their 17 Tests and lost six.

The lone win came in December, when Dilshan's men thumped South Africa by 208 runs in Durban, but went on to lose the series 2-1.

The remarkable win was fashioned by a match haul of nine wickets by seasoned spinner Rangana Herath, and Jayawardene was confident the left-armer will deliver once again.

"We don't have Murali anymore, but Rangana has been around for some time and he had a great series against South Africa, when he took control of things," the skipper said.

"Suraj Randiv, the off-spinner, is pretty good in these conditions too. Hopefully these two guys will do the job for us."

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