Law wants Sri Lanka to be hard case for England

CARDIFF, May 25, 2011 (AFP) – Stuart Law has warned England against taking Sri Lanka lightly even though he concedes they face “the toughest deal on the planet” playing the Ashes-winners in a Test series starting here on Thursday.

Former Australia batsman Law is the interim coach of Sri Lanka following the decision by compatriot Trevor Bayliss, to whom he was the assistant, to return home to take charge of New South Wales after guiding the islanders to this year’s World Cup final, where they lost to India.

This three-Test series sees Sri Lanka without legendary off-spin star Muttiah Muralitharan, now retired completely, and slingshot fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who has quit Tests on injury grounds.

As if that were not bad enough, first-choice seamers Nuwan Pradeep (cruciate ligament) and Dilhara Fernando (knee), each of whom was in the wickets during the win over the second string England Lions last week, which followed a tour-opening victory over Middlesex, could both be ruled out of the first Test.

Nevertheless, Law told reporters here on Tuesday: “I would be very surprised if England took us cheaply or under-estimate us.

“Last time we met was in the World Cup quarters (where Sri Lanka thrashed England by