Malinga eager to maintain unbeaten run

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iol spt apr6 Malinga

AFP

File: Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga is looking forward to maintaining his perfect record as captain when his Twenty20 world champions face England in cricket's shortest format at The Oval.

London - Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga is looking forward to maintaining his perfect record as captain when his Twenty20 world champions face England in cricket's shortest format at The Oval on Tuesday.

Malinga has enjoyed three wins from three matches since replacing the out-of-form Dinesh Chandimal during the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh two months ago

Under the fast bowler, Sri Lanka win their last group match before seeing off West Indies in a semi-final and defeating India in the final.

However, they lost their only fixture of the tournament against England Ä a match where Alex Hales's whirlwind innings saw him become the first England batsman to score a Twenty20 international hundred.

“We are a really happy unit, because we won the (Twenty20) World Cup,” Malinga told reporters at The Oval on Monday. “We are a young side, looking forward to assessing these conditions as soon as possible.

“We are confident we can handle all the pressure in Twenty20.”

England will take some confidence from a win that was a rare highlight during a wretched your programme that also featured a 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.

But Malinga said a more important factor on Tuesday would be England's knowledge of home conditions.

“We had a tough match against England in that World Cup. But the past is past,” he insisted.

“These conditions favour the home team. But we'll look to put them under pressure.

“In Twenty20, one over can change the match,” added Malinga, who has done precisely that on numerous occasions.

“(But) whoever makes the fewest mistakes in the 40 overs will win, I think.”

As well as being known for his distinctive 'slingshot' action, from which he can generate thunderbolt yorkers or disguised slower balls, Malinga also kisses the ball before he runs in to the crease.

“I really worship, respect the ball,” Malinga said by way of explanation. “That's why I do it.

“I like it when batsmen come in and want to hit me. I really enjoy thinking how I can stop them?”

England captain Eoin Morgan, reflecting on the teams' last meeting, said: “There's huge confidence to take from the game we played in the group stages of the (Twenty20) World Cup.

“They're are a notable T20 team - they have great variations. To turn them over in the World Cup was a great effort,” added Morgan, leading the team in the absence of injured paceman Stuart Broad.

This time around Morgan's team will be looking to utilise the inside knowledge of former Sri Lanka coach Paul Farbrace, in charge of the islanders in Bangladesh but now back with his native country after being appointed as an assistant to the recalled Peter Moores.

“He (Farbrace) has been key in our preparation,” said Morgan. “He knows their guys inside out, as he should do, and his knowledge and applying our skills in countering things they will do has been really good.

“He has gone through the majority of their players and probably given us a bit more background than we would be able to access, which is brilliant.”

Sapa-AFP


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