Sri Lanka relish underdog tag

Sri Lanka will embrace the ‘underdog’ tag at the ICC Champions Trophy in England, according to skipper Angelo Mathews.

A joint-winner in 2002, Sri Lanka have only reached the semi-final stage once since, getting to the last four in the 2013 edition, also in England.

In a pool also featuring India, Pakistan and South Africa, Mathews admits his team is being seen as outsiders to lift the trophy, but is confident Sri Lanka has the firepower to make a run at the title.

He said: “All the teams are quite even, I think in the past few months we have had a few lapses here and there. Nobody will give us a chance, to be really honest, but we are happy to enter the tournament as underdogs.

“We are confident, we have prepared extremely well. In Sri Lanka and England for the past few days, it’s been really good. Hopefully we can play tomorrow’s practice game (against Australia), and get a good practice out of it.

“All the teams are quite even but it’s on the given day, the guys who make less mistakes will win. It can be England, it can be us, it can be anyone.

“Everyone has got a chance, no one can write anyone off and I’m sure it will be a very exciting tournament.”

Still only 29, Mathews is one of the veteran leaders in the Sri Lanka team, and was part of the side that beat England 3-2 in a one-day international series back in 2014.

While the batting line-up has a very different look to it in this tournament, Mathews is confident that Sri Lanka can use that experience to their advantage.

He added: “We are a team where we stick to our basics. We’ve played pretty well in England, especially in 2014, so we will try to take a leaf out of it.