Lankan skipper Mathews seek batting revival in England clash to keep CT hopes `afloat`
Johannesburg: Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews has said that his side`s batsmen will have to vastly improve their performance in the ICC Champions Trophy match against hosts England to stay `afloat` in the tournament.
Sri Lanka was shot out for 138 against New Zealand in Cardiff on Sunday, and only a hostile four-wicket spell from sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga helped them save face in the narrow one-wicket defeat.
The 2007 World Cup finalists must now defeat both England and Australia in day-night matches at the Oval to keep their semi-final hopes alive from group A.
Stating that the team cannot expect the bowlers to the job for them in every match, Mathews said that he thinks that the entire batting unit must take responsibility, although he added that the team`s morale is high despite the opening setback.
Hoping that his team comes back strongly in the next two matches, the Lankan skipper further said that their solution to stay alive in the eight-nation tournament was to win the remaining two games in group A, adding that they have to stay positive and not unduly pressurize themselves as they get ready to face England.
Admitting that England had one of the best seam attacks in the game, Mathews said that Sri Lanka just needed to enjoy the game and put forward their best performance as the result will take care of itself, adding that the first task for his team was to play out the full 50 overs.
However, England captain Alastair Cook admitted that Malinga would be the `danger man` for his side, mainly because of his unusual bowling action and different technique, adding that if they can play him well as a batting unit, it will then help his men to pressurize Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, England bounced back from a 2-1 one-day series loss against New Zealand ahead of the tournament to brush aside old foes Australia by 48 runs in their first match.
Cook`s home team go into the match with their preparations overshadowed by an altercation at a bar in Birmingham between Australian opener David Warner and young England player Joe Root over the weekend.