England batting coach Mark Ramprakash has called on the side to be ruthless as they go in search of a 3-0 series clean sweep of Sri Lanka at Lord’s this week. Convincing wins by an innings and nine wickets at Headingley and the Riverside respectively, have seen Alastair Cook’s men surge into an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-Test campaign.
But recent contests have seen England lapse late on, losing the second and final Test of last year’s home series in a 1-1 draw and going down in the fifth Test after the Ashes had been won as Australia reduced their losing margin to 3-2.
It was a theme that was repeated earlier this year in South Africa, where England had won the series by the time of their heavy 280-run defeat at Centurion.
Ramprakash, speaking to reporters at Lord’s yesterday, said the side were conscious of their habit of slipping-up late on. “I think the players are very much aware of that,” he said. “I’m sure it will be reiterated over the next couple of days,” the former England batsman added.
But Ramprakash, who started his career at Lord’s with Middlesex, said he hoped the occasion of a Test at the ‘home of cricket’ would help every England player raise their game.
“A Test match at Lord’s is the pinnacle of your career, or certainly one of the highlights,” he said. “So all the players have plenty to play for individually, and that will help collectively as a team.
“It should come from within. I hope lessons will have been learned because this group of players have come unstuck in the last Test, most recently in South Africa. That wasn’t a good feeling, so we hope the guys will want to finish the job off this week.”
Heading into tomorrow’s match, top-order batsman Nick Compton has arguably the most to prove after admitting before the second Test he needed runs to secure his England place.
Compton only managed nine in the first innings at Durham but was 22 not out second time around as England eased their way to a dominant victory.
“I thought there were good signs at Durham,” said Ramprakash of England’s number three bat. “He has something to build on, I thought he was very composed in the second innings there. I hope that will carry over into this game.”
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