WELLINGTON: England are determined to restore their World Cup credibility in a crunch Pool A match Sunday against an improving Sri Lanka.
Eoin Morgan’s men return to Wellington’s Westpac stadium for the fixture, scene of a humiliating eight-wicket loss to New Zealand on February 20.
That defeat, a day-nighter in which England folded so quickly that ground staff did not need to turn on the floodlights, followed a 111-run drubbing by Australia in their opening match.
A subsequent win over minnows Scotland was greeted with relief rather than jubilation, and opening batsman Moeen Ali said England needed to make a statement against Sri Lanka.
Ali said victory against the 1996 champions would restore the battered self-belief of the team, which has been flayed in the British media.
“(It’s) a very important game, if we can win that it will give the team a lot more confidence of being a very good one-day side and a major side in the competition.” he said.
Sri Lanka made a shaky start to their own campaign, suffering a 98-run loss to New Zealand and a real scare against Afghanistan.
But they clicked in a 92-run win over Bangladesh last Thursday which included centuries for Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara.
Sri Lanka defeated England 5-2 on home soil late last year in a series that prompted Morgan’s predecessor Alastair Cook to be axed as one-day captain.
But paceman Steve Finn said England would not be dwelling on that series as conditions in Wellington would be completely different.
“We got beat by Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka so it’s important we go out there and try to stamp our authority in conditions that should favour us,” he said.