SRI LANKA, who face New Zealand today in Cardiff before taking on England at The Oval on Thursday, must rank among the least fancied teams at the
Champions Trophy even though they made the finals of the most recent 50-over World Cup and World Twenty20.

Those two tournaments papered over some obvious cracks. Sri Lanka have always been more of a force in Asia than elsewhere and, because they were co-hosts for the 2011 World Cup and sole hosts for last year’s World Twenty20, nobody was surprised they fared well. It won’t count for much now.

The most fundamental problem is their bowling since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan after the World Cup final, something painfully evident in two
lost warm-up matches last week, when Sri Lanka failed to defend 333 against India and conceded 297 to West Indies.


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