England to be muddled by Mendis in must-win Sri Lanka clash

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When England face Sri Lanka in their second World T20 group match in Chittagong there’ll be plenty of turn for them to deal with. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many ways in which a positive spin can be put on how they’ll deal with it.

Having fallen foul of the brainchild of Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis against New Zealand, Stuart Broad’s men face the 3/1-second favourites for the tournament already locked in “must-win” territory.

Sri Lanka, who saw off South Africa before annihilating the Netherlands, are 8/15 fancies to maintain their 100 per cent record, while England are a 6/4 chance to end it.

Should they lose, England will need to perform miracles to qualify for the next stage, with just four points up for grabs in the remaining matches.

Judging by how things have been going for English cricket in pressure situations of late, it doesn’t seem like winning here is a realistic ambition.

A group of far more heralded international performers than this set of cricketers crumbled in the Ashes before handing the knack for losing to the men who don the coloured kits. Since then, England have succumbed in six of their seven T20s in 2014.

Sri Lanka have beaten them in three consecutive ICC tournaments, reaching the final on each occasion, and blend a scary mix of explosive batting with intelligent bowling.

The warm up match against India showed how bamboozled the Three Lions’ line-up can be against spin, where MS Dhoni’s four tweakers took 4-87 from their combined 14 overs.

Sri Lanka will likely only have half that number at their disposal, but they are no less formidable.

Ajantha Mendis, the frontline option, has by no means been at his best at this tournament but took 3-12 in just 2.3 overs against Holland to show just how deadly the 12/1 man-of-the-match shot can be against men who can’t pick him. Expect him to do the damage.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.