Experience key for Sri Lanka

  • Last Updated: May 27 2014, 14:59 BST

Sri Lanka intend to rely on their vastly experienced senior players to help them sustain their Royal London series comeback.

Angelo Mathews: Looking to take the lead in the one-day series
Angelo Mathews: Looking to take the lead in the one-day series

The tourists stunned England in Durham two days ago when Nuwan Kulasekara and Sachithra Senanayake combined to bowl the hapless hosts out for for just 99 as Sri Lanka levelled the five-match series at 1-1 with three to play.

As they prepare for the third instalment - weather permitting at Emirates Old Trafford on Wednesday - captain Angelo Mathews made it clear Sri Lanka will be ready to repel a revival from opponents they still respect.

"We've got to keep our heads level, and can't be complacent against the English team because they can bounce back really hard at us," he said.

"Senior guys like (Tillakaratne) Dilshan, Mahela (Jayawardene), Sanga [Kumar Sangakkara], Lasith (Malinga) all know how to handle the situation. They've been through it so many times.

"We all talk to each other - we're like family. It has to be a level-headed series, but we've got to play some positive and aggressive cricket."

Sri Lanka also appear set to field two frontline spinners, on the basis that last time they played a one-day international at this venue - three years ago, on the first occasion after the Manchester square had been rotated north-south - conditions very much favoured slow bowlers.

They have replaced injured seamer Suranga Lakmal with left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who will be up against Ajantha Mendis to accompany Senanayake.

"The Manchester pitch looks pretty similar to a sub-continent wicket," said Mathews.

"It might play a bit slow - so now Rangana is fit, we thought of adding him.

"We've got enough cover in our pace attack, but needed another spinner."

Whoever takes the field will do so with renewed belief after Sri Lanka's 157-run win at the weekend.

"We've gained some confidence from the other day," said the captain.

"We played some positive cricket, and I personally believe that is the way to go against the English team.

"We had to come back hard, pull our socks up - and I thought it was a great performance.

"The bowlers came to the party and got us through."

New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30