Heat presents tough challenge for England

Monday, 26 March 2012 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

GALLE (Reuters): Oppressive heat and humidity will present a major problem for England in the first of two cricket tests against Sri Lanka starting in Galle on Monday.

“These are unnatural conditions for English players, we don’t get this kind of heat,” England batting coach Graham Gooch told reporters.

“It’s different to the United Arab Emirates, it’s more humid, the heat is more oppressive.”England, the world number one side, were beaten 3-0 by Pakistan in their previous series staged on neutral territory in the United Arab Emirates.

They finished the series against Pakistan with an attack comprising two quick bowlers and two spinners, a balance they look certain to retain against Sri Lanka. “It is slightly different for seamers because your spells are slightly different and in this heat the spells will be shorter than we’re used to,” pace bowler James Anderson said. “It puts more focus on us seamers being right on the money every ball. Sri Lanka is probably a place where it is easy to leak runs. That’s something we’re well aware of and something we can hopefully combat.

“It’s a balancing act. We want to play with intensity and to do that takes energy. It will take more out of us. What we have done well in the last couple of weeks it to get used to ways of conserving energy for what we need to do.” England have begun the tour well with emphatic wins in their two warmup matches and Ravi Bopara is expected to return to the side at number six in place of Eoin Morgan, who has been dropped after the Pakistan series. “The batsmen obviously have a point to prove. The way we batted in the last innings of the warmup match was fantastic,” Anderson added.

“We chased down a really high score in not many overs. We can take a lot of confidence from that. All our top six or seven batters have had a good time in the middle on this trip and hopefully they can start well on Monday. Getting a huge amount of runs in the first innings will be crucial.”

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said his side faced a tough challenge after good performances abroad.

“We can’t be complacent and take the hot weather into account for England are a professional side and we can easily get rolled over if we don’t play good cricket. It’s a good opportunity for us to play at home and do well in our conditions. Everyone is looking forward to it.”