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Cricket World Cup: England 'do not fear Sri Lanka'

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 quarter-final: Sri Lanka v England
Venue: Colombo Date: Saturday, 26 March (0900 GMT)
Coverage: Highlights on BBC Two (see listings), Red Button & online at 2200 GMT (UK only); live Test Match Special commentary (BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and online); text commentary online and mobiles; live on Sky Sports

Andrew Strauss (left) and Graham Gooch
England skipper Andrew Strauss (left) with Gooch in the nets

England batting coach Graham Gooch says Andrew Strauss's team will not fear playing Sri Lanka in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

England reached the knockout stages after a series of stuttering performances while Sri Lanka will be playing at home in Colombo.

"Sri Lanka in their own country are a top team with world-class players and lots of experience," said Gooch.

"But England won't fear them, they'll look forward to competing with them."

Gooch, who played in and lost three World Cup finals in three different decades, added: "That's one of the beauties of the game - you look forward to those challenges, to coming up against those players.

I hope this team have got it within them to win the World Cup - I'm convinced they have

Graham Gooch

"England are not worried about winning or losing. What they're worried about and should be concentrating on is getting their own game right, playing the game they want to play.

"If they do that, they'll have a good chance of winning that quarter-final."

Sri Lanka expect star off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who will retire at the end of the tournament, to shrug off a hamstring injury and be fit to take on England.

And he is joined in a formidable-looking team by captain Kumar Sangakkara and fellow batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene, while more spin and pace will be provided respectively by Ajantha Mendis and Lasith Malinga.

But while Gooch admitted England, who flew to Colombo on Monday, needed to show dramatic improvement from their patchy form in the group stage, he was confident they were capable of doing so.

And he said it was England's spirit that had impressed him most during a nerve-shredding group phase where they tied with India and beat South Africa yet lost to both Ireland and Bangladesh.

They also came back from the brink of defeat against the West Indies in a match they had to win to reach the last eight.

I can make an impact - Jade Dernbach

"They've come through this first stage of the competition, shown their fighting qualities and their resilience," said Gooch.

"We're not looking back, not worried about our past performances, concerned with what's happened in those previous matches.

"We know we can improve, we know we've got better cricket within our team. Our guys need to concentrate on that.

"I hope this team have got it within them to win the World Cup - I'm convinced they have."

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see also
England face tough Sri Lanka test
20 Mar 11 |  England
My mate Murali
20 Mar 11 |  Sri Lanka
India win sets up Aussie showdown
20 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Flower upbeat on England chances
19 Mar 11 |  England
SA victory puts England through
19 Mar 11 |  Cricket
England call up bowler Dernbach
18 Mar 11 |  England
Shahzad to miss rest of World Cup
17 Mar 11 |  England
Strauss proud of England spirit
17 Mar 11 |  England
England win keeps Cup hopes alive
17 Mar 11 |  England
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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