Sri Lanka bowling injuries lift England favoritism

Updated: May 25, 2011, 11:34 AM IST

Cardiff: Sri Lanka will try to overcome its ailing bowling attack to beat England in a Test cricket series for the first time, starting with the first Test in Cardiff on Thursday.

With Tillakaratne Dilshan set to make his debut as captain, the tourists` confidence is high for the three-match series after its dramatic 38-run win against England Lions in their final warmup game at Derby on Sunday.

But they will have to do without Nuwan Pradeep, who took 4-29 against the Lions but damaged knee ligaments.

"It`s bad news for the young man," said coach Stuart Law.

"If things are OK and he doesn`t need an operation we may opt to keep him here but at this stage it looks like he`s flying home.

"He`s one of the cards up our sleeve and he has a bit more pace than the rest of them so it`s a shame if he has to go home but he was dragging his leg around yesterday."

With Dilhara Fernando also a doubt with a knee injury and Lasith Malinga retired, Sri Lanka drafted in seamer Farveez Maharoof, who has been playing for Lancashire.

The England selectors, by contrast, have had to omit a number of proven internationals, most controversially Ravi Bopara.

Before the Lions game it was widely reported in the British media that Bopara, having scored prolifically in the domestic championship, would be preferred to Eoin Morgan, who struggled in the IPL, as the long-term replacement for the retired Paul Collingwood.