Oct 1 2012
England batsman Eoin Morgan has identified the twin menace of Ajantha Mendis' spin variations and Lasith Malinga's pace as the main Sri Lanka threats which must be neutralised in the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight clash in Pallekele.
Morgan and co know they may have to qualify for the semi-finals the hard way, by beating the hosts in their own climate. It is possible, depending on the outcome between New Zealand and the West Indies beforehand, that England could make the last four with a narrow defeat to Sri Lanka.
But the champions must at least ensure they are competitive - and despite their much-improved performance, and victory, against the Black Caps at this same venue two days ago - that will not be a given. "It is going to be a big challenge," said Morgan.
"We will come up against a lot of spin ... it is going to be crucial, and our mindset is going to be massive."
Morgan prescribes a middle ground for himself and his colleagues, allowing themselves time to come to terms with the opposition attack but not to be dominated.
"Guys like Malinga are always tough, because you haven't faced them for such a long time and you aren't in the habit of having the ball (delivered from) waist high from in front of the stumps - it's different.
"Mendis is the same; you obviously take a couple of balls to get yourself in. But in this format you rotate the strike in those balls - don't block it, or leave it. There is a frame of mind to take them on rather than sit back. If they are allowed to bowl at us, the likelihood is they will be successful."
England know from experience in this campaign already that they must get their tactics, and techniques, right against spin. India's Harbhajan Singh made fools of them in a record defeat in Colombo last week.
"I think that was naive," said Morgan. "We didn't do the simple things right. We went for strokes that worked well in England and don't work for us here - we have talked about that.
"We went back to reactive cricket, rather than being smart. It was almost a case of forgetting what we were trying to do - and we paid massive consequences."