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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Russel Arnold's column
Sri Lanka's Russel Arnold
By Russel Arnold
Sri Lanka World Cup cricketer

Russel Arnold
Arnold plays a sweep shot during the game against South Africa
Our guys are really focused for the next game against England - if we win we will be well on our way to the semi-finals.

Although the result in last year's series in England, when we won 5-0, adds to our confidence, the key will be how we do things on the day.

The past is basically history and it won't count for much if we do not play 100%, but the guys are very much aware of that and I'm pretty sure there'll be quite a few big performances.

We have a lot of respect for the English players.

We haven't singled out anyone but Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff are the special players who can turn things round for England, so we will try our best to put them on the back foot very early the game.

England are a good all-round side but we believe that if we play to our potential we won't have any trouble going further in this tournament.

The key to our team is that we have a great balance.

We have a strong bowling attack but our batting is also very good because we've got some fantastic players and we bat deep.

We've also got some fantastic fielders, so that makes us a pretty balanced outfit.

Our win against the West Indies on Sunday was really good because we needed that victory to put us in a good position in the Super 8s.

RUSSEL ARNOLD FACTFILE
Born: Colombo 25.10.73
174 ODIs, 3921 runs, average 35.88, highest score 103, 38 wickets, best bowling 3-47
44 Tests, 1821 runs, average 28.01, highest score 123, 11 wickets, best bowling 3-76

If we hadn't won, it would have put us under pressure for the games to come.

It was especially important after the defeat by South Africa, where we didn't bat well enough - if we had scored another 20 or 30 runs it might have been a different story.

We had to put that right on Sunday and there was a lot of focus and effort from the guys - I think we performed brilliantly.

It was a special knock from Sanath Jayasuriya because the conditions were really difficult at the start.

After 16 overs we were 53-2 so Sanath had to be really patient and try to survive.

As his innings went on he got into his stride and ended with 115, which enabled us to get over 300.

Sanath's knock, and also the supporting role from Mahela Jayawardene, was really fantastic and I would say they would probably rate their innings among their best.

In general all of our top order is in form, which is great.

We try to get our runs with the top order so if we are able to do that it means we are in a pretty good position.

Lasith Malinga
I think there's a lot to come from Lasith Malinga

If we give our bowlers a proper score to work with, say 240 or 250, we have the bowlers to defend those sorts of totals in any sort of conditions.

At the moment everyone's contributing and if we can keep going like that it will be really good for us.

Our defeat by South Africa featured a great spell of bowling by Lasith Malinga, who took four wickets in four balls to nearly win us the game.

It was a great comeback because he didn't start off too well.

The game was totally gone but he gave us some hope and there was one ball to Robin Peterson when they were nine down which missed the wicket by a whisker - that was how close we came to victory.

But when you take into consideration all our performances during the day - batting, bowling, etc - I don't think we really deserved to win.

Lasith is very young so as he can get physically stronger and he will also get more experienced.

He will learn to handle situations better - I think there's a lot to come from him.



SEE ALSO
Malinga plays down World Cup feat
28 Mar 07 |  Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka victory shatters India
23 Mar 07 |  Cricket
Sri Lankans overpower Bangladesh
21 Mar 07 |  Cricket
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21 Feb 07 |  Cricket
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20 Jul 05 |  Cricket


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