England bowlers struggle to make one big push

Updated: 25 March 2011 15:12 IST

Depleted by injuries and exhausted after almost six months on tour, England are asking the bowlers for another big push to progress beyond Saturday's quarterfinal meeting with Sri Lanka.

England bowlers struggle to make one big push
©

Colombo:

At times England's bowlers have looked punch drunk at the World Cup.

Depleted by injuries and exhausted after almost six months on tour, England are asking the bowlers for another big push to progress beyond Saturday's quarterfinal meeting with Sri Lanka.

Two of the frontline bowling attack, strike bowler Stuart Broad and pacey Azmal Shahzad, have limped back to England with injuries. All-rounder Michael Yardy left on Thursday, suffering from depression.

Paul Collingwood, who bowled eight overs in England's first group stage game, has announced he will have surgery after the World Cup and is unlikely to bowl again here - if he's selected - because of a piece of cartilage floating around his knee.

And some of those that are left are struggling. Fast bowler Tim Bresnan had a scan on a recurring calf injury this week in Colombo and England's main seamer, James Anderson, was dropped for the last match because he quite simply looks bowled out.

Some of the bowlers have been on the road since last October, when England embarked on a triumphant Ashes test series in Australia. A limited-overs series in Australia followed that before the squad headed home for the couple of days on a detour to the sub-continent and a grueling round of warmup and group matches.

With the exception of spinner Graeme Swann, who consistently bowls 10 tight overs even if he is yet to rediscover the match-winning form of the Ashes, England's main hopes lie in the replacements who have been drafted in for the injured players.

Journeyman spinner James Tredwell was drafted in for the crucial final qualifier against the West Indies and did what he has done for his county Kent for many years; strangled the run supply and picked up the wickets of frustrated batsmen who could not get him away. He finished with 4-48.

Captain Andrew Strauss can pick between Anderson, Bresnan and Chris Tremlett on Saturday. He will probably select two seamers at most and may gamble on Anderson rediscovering some of the form that makes him a dangerous swing bowler.

Replacement seamer Jade Dernbach is untested and it would be a huge gamble to select him ahead of Tremlett or Bresnan.

The all-rounders are likely to play a key role on a low, slow Premadasa wicket. Accurate slow bowling like the deliveries Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright produce could tie down Sri Lanka's batsmen. Both also contribute with the bat.

Yardy could also have slotted into this category but he has left Sri Lanka. His replacement, leg-spinner Adil Rashid, will not arrive until Saturday and may find himself flying straight home again if England is knocked out.

Topics : Cricket ICC World Cup, 2011 England Australia West Indies
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