When Sri Lanka travelled to England to play a three-match T20I series, few gave the Chamari Athapaththu-led side much chance. England were a confident side after defeating the mighty Australians earlier this year in both the ODI and the T20I series. They rested some key players like Sophie Ecclestone, Sophia Dunkley, and Nat Sciver-Brunt for the series against Sri Lanka. However, Heather Knight’s women were still the favourites heading into their home series.
They scored 186/4 in the first match in just 17 overs in a rain-curtailed game. Sri Lanka lost by 12 runs via DLS method. In the next two T20Is, Sri Lanka would only allow the home side to score 104 and 116, respectively. Sri Lanka chased down the meager targets with relative ease to bag the series. 17 out of the 24 England wickets in the series fell to spinners. In the Ashes, leg-spinner Ashleigh Gardner finished with 23 wickets and emerged Player of the Series.
England coach Jon Lewis believes that England’s weak point has been their batting against spin. With the India tour later this year, the 2024 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, and the 2025 ODI World Cup in India, Lewis is aware of the fact that England need to improve their batting against spin. To address this issue, a select group of English batters will travel to Mumbai for a training camp.
“Off the back of the Ashes, and from what I saw at the World Cup, it’s pretty clear that the way we play spin bowling is a big area for development for us. And it’s been highlighted here. It’s brilliant exposure for our players to understand this is where you’re at in your cricketing journey, these are the bits of the game that we need to improve,” Lewis was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo after Sri Lanka’s seven-wicket victory in Derby on Wednesday in the third T20I.
“We’ve got a 20-over World Cup in Bangladesh, we’ve got a tour to India and we’ve got a 50-over World Cup in India. So our next three big challenges in reality, there’s going to be a lot of spin bowled at us. People will watch us play spin and they’ll go, ‘right, okay, we think we can exploit this team in that area’. So I’m really keen to get to work with the girls, and how they play the spin bowling and the options that they have, because there’s there a lot of areas for growth.”
England‘s next challenge is a three-match ODI series at home. They will once again enter as favourites to win the series but Sri Lanka are surely going to pepper them with a lot of spin.