Swann is England's most dangerous player

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 26, 2011 05:00 hrs

In my book, Sri Lanka are favourites though looking at the way England have been playing and the luck they've had, you cannot rule them out. Sri Lanka bat big and have a varied bowling attack, led by the vastly experienced Muttiah Muralitharan who in his final World Cup will look to bowl Sri Lanka to the top. They just look a far better side.

England's best chance of winning is to get top-order wickets because we all know that is where Sri Lanka are strongest. If you get Kumar Sangakkara, that's a huge wicket. England need to get the Sri Lankan captain cheaply. If England get stuck in early and manage to silence the crowd the momentum will be on their side and then you never know what can happen.

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I don't think Sri Lanka think too much about their middle order because they have such a formidable top four. All the runs have come from those four. I think Sri Lanka put all their face in their top four or five and expect them to come good each time. That is an immense leap of faith but as we've seen, no side has been able to destroy the top four. It is going to be very tough for England if they fail to get early wickets.

England's best bowler by some distance has been, unsurprisingly, Graeme Swann. He's just come in and done what he knows best. Simple as that. He's not needed to do much else. Swann is a very important figure in the England set-up and he will have to produce the goods. So far he has been consistent and taken wickets in every game.

Sri Lanka must concentrate on Swann and look to score off the other bowlers. They should look to play him out and capitalize on the rest. But when the opposition's top bowler is taking wickets consistently, it becomes tough to do that. Swann will attack and be good with his variation and won't bowl many bad balls. He is England's most dangerous player.

I can't see any major changes to either side in a knock-out match. There's too much at stake. Both teams will stick to the formulas that have got them this far. Even though Matt Prior hasn't worked as opener, I can't see England changing that combination. Thus, Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara will remain in the middle order.

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Much has been said about the nature of the Premadasa surface and how difficult it has been to chase there, but I believe the wicket has eased out. There's a chance that it will deteriorate, but not to the extent it used to. In fact not too many wickets have deteriorated in the tournament as much as they've been expected to; it's been more of the case that teams haven't chased well.

Even in Ahmedabad, the surface was expected to deteriorate but it didn't. Australia didn't have the spinners to exploit that surface and the fast bowlers were negated by India's middle order. So, looking at the Premadasa, while it is definitely a win-toss-bat-first surface, I don't think losing the toss is as serious an impediment as it has been made out to be. Chasing sides won't regret having to bat second.

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