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Michael Vaughan: Sri Lanka's mystery will be too much for England

Will Mahela Jayawardene's men have too much for England?

"Even if England get their tactics spot on you still have to fancy Sri Lanka, with that home crowd behind them."

England played well to beat New Zealand on Saturday, but Stuart Broad's men are out of their comfort zone against unorthodox players and will find Sri Lanka a tougher proposition, warns Michael Vaughan

It was a good performance against New Zealand on Saturday, but you always fancy England against more orthodox teams. Brendan McCullum can take a game away from you and James Franklin played nicely, but there's no real mystery about them and you'd expect England to chase down 140-odd as they did.

Sri Lanka are a completely different proposition, with players like Malinga, Herath and the new 'mystery spinner' Akila Dananjaya throwing up plenty of different challenges.

The home crowd are also a real plus for Sri Lanka. People were saying the atmosphere against the West Indies was one of the best ever - the supporters have a real party. It can make it really difficult for the opposition - you can't hear yourself think, or each other!

On to today's game and I've been told that Kieswetter is out. Lumb will come in to open and Bairstow will take the gloves. The top order are crucial because if England are to have any sort of chance, they've got to get ahead of the game.

Usually in a T20, you're happy to leave the push until the last five overs, but with Malinga potentially bowling three overs at the end it's too much of a risk. You have to take the gamble earlier - you can't afford to be chasing 10 or 12 an over.

Early wickets will also be crucial for England. If they can get Jayawardena out cheaply, then they'll stand a chance. Steven Finn is different class at the moment, and England will need him to continue that form.

But even if England get their tactics spot on you still have to fancy Sri Lanka, with that home crowd behind them. England just don't have that mystery, and I'll be backing Sri Lanka at 1.738/11.

That man Jayawardena is my Top Sri Lanka Batsman bet at 4.3100/30 - his record against England in all formats is ridiculous. And I'm sticking with Eoin Morgan for England at 5.49/2; he's one of the few batsman who can handle spin


It looks like there might be an end to the Kevin Pietersen saga. I hope the talk of another public apology is just talk though. What needs to happen is that Kevin goes in to the dressing room and makes a private apology to the players. The players have to believe it - and he needs to convince them. It might take some time, but that's the only way - not e-mails or YouTube.

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01 October 2012

Twenty20 World Cup


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