Stuart Broad has said England will be out for revenge when they face Sri Lanka in the first of a three-Test series at Headingley next weekend.
Two years ago, Yorkshire’s headquarters ground in Leeds played host to a thrilling match that saw Sri Lanka win the second of a two-Test campaign off the penultimate ball to seal a 1-0 series win when James Anderson, Broad’s new-ball partner, was dismissed after more than an hour of tail-end resistance.
This home season sees England up against both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the only two teams who’ve won their most recent Test series against Alastair Cook’s men, and Broad wants to set the record straight.
“There is a bit of revenge to be had,” said Broad at an event staged by series sponsors Investec in London on Thursday.
“It’s a great motivation for us as a team that we have seven out of nine Test match trophies but Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the two we don’t have.
“I played in the Test matches at the start of 2014 and that was a tough time to play. It was quite an emotional series, it really hurt us as a team to lose in our own conditions.
“We know when we play Sri Lanka they play with a lot of pride and passion, they’re always in the battle and they beat us in that battle last time.”
For retired Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara, the memory of his country’s first Test series win in England, as opposed to victory in one-off matches, remains a treasured memory and one he believes the current tourists will do well to learn from.
“We were a bit behind the game (at Headingley), but once we started the second innings, we thought ‘let’s get to 200 in front. If we can, we’ve got a great chance of winning this Test’.”
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, still the islanders’ skipper, led from the front with a superb innings of 160 and received excellent support from Rangana Herath in an eighth-wicket stand of 149.
Sri Lanka set England a target of 350 and paceman Dhammika Prasad then piled the pressure with a four-wicket burst as the hosts collapsed to 57 for five at stumps on the fourth day.
Nevertheless Moeen Ali’s hundred and Anderson’s defiance almost denied Sri Lanka what turned out to a 100-run win.
“Everyone was motivated individually and as a team. You saw that in the Herath went in and scored runs, while Angelo batted magnificently,” said Sangakkara.
“Prasad broke the game open, but I didn’t expect Jimmy to bat for an hour.
“They were two of the best Tests I ever played,” said batting great Sangakkara, now playing for English county side Surrey after retiring from international duty last year
“We were outplayed for large portions, but when it counted we stood up. The players should learn from that and give themselves the chance to have an opportunity by staying in the game.”
Broad could find himself forming an attack at Headingley that includes fellow Nottinghamshire seamer Jake Ball, one of two uncapped players, along with Hampshire batsman James Vince, in a 12-man England squad announced Thursday.
Ball has already taken 19 first-class wickets this season and Broad said: “Jake is a player I’ve seen a lot of in the last three or four years, he’s developed so quickly in the last 18 months.
“He’s tall, he’s got good pace. He’s a guy that takes big wickets. He gets top-order batsmen out. I know he’s delighted with the call-up and it’s reward for good county season form.”