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Stuart Dalgleish 1st Apr 2012 - 14:26

Can England Finn-ish on a high?

Sri Lanka v England preview - Tuesday 05:30 live on Sky Sports 1

England (7/4) are looking to end a run of four Test defeats in a row as they face Sri Lanka (15/8, draw 7/4) in the final match of their brief tour.

They will have to try draw the series without vital bowler Stuart Broad, it is expected that Steven Finn (4/1 top England bowler) will replace the Notts man.

Personally, I would like to see Tim Bresnan (4/1) in there also to add a bit more to the batting department as it seems to me that England have been a bit over reactive to their struggles against spin in the UAE.

In that tour, Pakistan deservedly ran out 3-0 winners, but England's bowling was exemplary, which is why I couldn't understand when Samit Patel (10/1 top England bowler, and batsman) was the man to replace the out-of-form Eoin Morgan.

The selectors picked Patel to compliment Graeme Swann (9/4) and Monty Panesar (5/2) on the turning Asian pitches, in a rarely seen three-pronged spin attack, but I don't think it's really necessary to have that many in your team.

Perhaps I'm being harsh on Patel, but for me you should be outstanding in one department to be an international cricketer, I just think he's a steady bowler and an option further down the order.

The batting department is where England needed strengthening; was Ravi Bopara's (7/1 top England batsman) injury that bad that he couldn't have offered a genuine role in the middle order? When Jonathan Trott (7/2) was running out of partners it seemed obvious to me that England were missing one extra batsman to get over the line.

In fairness to the selectors, they are loyal and I can imagine Finn for Broad will be the only change, now all that remains to be seen is that if England are strong enough to bounce back from another 'batastrophe' and keep hold of their number one Test ranking.

There were signs in the first Test that England could post a decent enough total to defend; Trott hit that wonderful century, Ian Bell (5/1) got a score, Matt Prior (8/1) was going along fine before getting complacent, not enough are contributing at the same time though as was happening during the Ashes and India last summer.

I believe, like against Pakistan, that England are not playing against players that are a great deal better than them, they just need to show why they're the top dogs at the minute.

The hosts have some fine players in their top order, Mahela Jayawardene (10/3 top SL batsman) was sensational in the first innings, Kumar Sangakkara (10/3) has consistently scored runs regardless of what other roles he's carried in the team and Tillakaratne Dilshan (4/1) is just a classy operator.

When you look past those three, you wonder how they have managed to be so convincing against England, sure great credit should go to Rangana Herath (6/4 top SL bowler) for getting 12 wickets in the match but was he doing anything out of the ordinary like Saeed Ajmal was?

He wasn't really, and Sri Lanka's attack is far weaker than it was a couple of years ago, if England can just play sensibly and not go whacking across the line then they should have enough to win.



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