ENGLAND are set to face some familiar foes after Sri Lanka named their squad for the first one-day international, which gets underway at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium tomorrow.
Batsman Mahela Jayawardene and the explosive Kumar Sangakkara are in the mix to face Peter Moores’ side in the day-night clash as the veteran duo prepare for their final winter of limited overs cricket, which culminates in the World Cup.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was rested for Sri Lanka’s whitewash in India but is recalled to the 15-man squad, captained by Angelo Matthews, together with off-spinner Dilruwan Perera who last played a one-day international in 2008.
Subcontinental conditions inevitably mean a trial by spin and Ajantha Mendis and leg-spinning all-rounder Jeevan Mendis are also included.
England are also likely to go head-to-head with pacemen Dhammika Prasad and Shaminda Eranga, who both played their part as Sri Lanka notched a surprise Test victory over Alastair Cook’s charges in the summer.
Prasad claimed a career-best 5-50 in the second innings of Sri Lanka’s 100-run victory at Headingley in June, while Eranga has been chosen ahead of seamer Nuwan Kulasekara.
England have been spared the ferocious spectre of Lasith Malinga, however, with the fast bowler sidelined until the new year at the earliest after undergoing ankle surgery.
The tourists head into their first ODI with only one rain-affected match against Sri Lanka A under their belts, which is the team’s sole exposure to cricket since T20 success against India in September.