World Cup 2023: Sri Lanka eye 2019 feat repeat against England as they meet in must-win clash
Both teams have won only one game each so far and need some quick wins to stay in the run for the semi-finals.
(L-R) England all-rounder Ben Stokes (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) and Sri Lanka batter Kusal Perera (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)
India Weekly Staff
FORMER captain Angelo Mathews said Sri Lanka will “fight fire with fire” against England as the veteran all-rounder plots his second successive World Cup upset over the defending champions.
Veteran all-rounder Mathews initially missed out on selection for the tournament but was summoned to India to replace the injured Matheesha Pathirana.
On Thursday (26), he is expected to go straight into the team to face England who have an identical record of one win and three defeats so far.
“We have to play our A game to win against a strong English team,” said 36-year-old Mathews.
“Even though they haven’t played to their potential, they are a very dangerous team. It’s a good wicket, small outfield, and we have to fight fire with fire because they’re going to come really hard at us and we are up for the challenge.”
Sri Lanka are coached by former England coach Chris Silverwood who left the role in 2022 after a 4-0 Ashes drubbing.
“It’s a different ball game, different conditions, different team,” added Mathews who made his debut back in 2008.
“Obviously Chris knows in and out most of their players and we’ve had discussions about the team as well.”
At the 2019 World Cup, Mathews played a starring role when Sri Lanka defeated England in Leeds, scoring an undefeated 85 in a 20-run victory.
The hosts had the last laugh when they went on to capture the title for the first time.
Mathews has only played four ODIs for Sri Lanka in three years.
However, he brings a wealth of experience with 221 career ODIs under his belt as well as 106 Tests and 78 T20s.
In his ODI career, he has amassed 5,865 runs with 40 fifties and three centuries. He also has 120 wickets from his medium pace bowling.
“I knew that when the opportunity comes, I have to be ready,” said Mathews, now appearing in his fourth World Cup.
“I just did that over the last month or so, I was training extremely hard. I was giving myself a chance to be prepared.
“But after the 15 players were selected, I was not expecting (to return). But it is what it is, the opportunity came.”