By Rob Barnett
Captain Chris Woakes says England Lions will not change the way they play despite needing only to draw the last ‘Test’ with Sri Lanka A to win the series.
Woakes’ side romped to victory by 167 runs in the opener at Kandy but were held to a draw at Dambulla where James Taylor’s double-century could not force the issue in the next game of three.
It took second-innings tons from Upal Tharanga and Dimuth Karunaratne, batsmen with senior international experience, to save the latter match, which was played on a lifeless pitch.
With the hosts needing to win this week, the surface at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium will surly be more sporting? Yet Woakes anticipates little alteration in the Lions’ approach to the latest four-day encounter that starts tomorrow.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, he said: “I think more of the same. I think we’ve been playing some really good stuff.
“If we were to change the way we’ve been playing now, it would be suicidal really because we’ve been playing some really good stuff.
“So more of the same from us. (It’s the) old cliche, the first hour - if you win that you’ll be in a good position on that first morning. We’ll reassess the conditions and pick the side accordingly, but I’m hoping that we can do more of the same.”
In contrast to the settled Lions, Sri Lanka A are thought to be changing their personnel.
“Rumour has it they’ll be making a few changes. They have to win to draw the series,” Woakes added.
“It’s definitely a good sign for us that they’re changing their team. It means that we're doing some good things. Hopefully we can continue that in the last game.”
Woakes has dealt with the disappointment of being unable to seal the series at Dambulla, something he was level-headed about in the match’s immediate aftermath.
“The game in Dambulla was frustrating. It would have been nice to come away with a win there, particularly after playing such good cricket for four days,” Woakes said.
“We’ve got a chance to finish this series on a high here in Colombo. Potentially we can win the series 2-0. Hopefully the guys can keep doing what they’ve been doing, playing really good cricket, and come away with the series win.”