England v Sri Lanka: Graeme Swann fit, Joe Root to play for hosts

Last Updated: 13/06/13 1:37pm

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England will aim to secure a place in the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy today when they take on Sri Lanka at the Oval.

With Australia's clash with New Zealand ruined by rain on Wednesday, Alastair Cook's side can reach the knockout stages with a second successive triumph in the eight-nation tournament.

"We seem to have recovered a bit of form and confidence now."
Alastair Cook

A 48-run win at Edgbaston over their Ashes rivals last weekend continued an upward curve in form following back-to-back defeats at the start of the one-day series with New Zealand.

They did bounce back to beat the Black Caps in a dead rubber, however, and skipper Alastair Cook thinks his side are now back on track in 50-over cricket after getting the better of Australia in Birmingham.

"The win against Australia was a good one, as was the last one against New Zealand," the left-handed opener said. "The first two games against New Zealand seem to be out of the way.

"We seem to have recovered a bit of form and confidence now.

"It's a vitally important game tomorrow, we can make a really big stride towards the semi-finals if we win."

Swann back

England will be further boosted by the return from injury of Graeme Swann; a back problem stopped the off-spinner from facing Australia but he took part in training on Wednesday at the Oval.

Swann's availability means fellow slow bowler James Tredwell is likely to make way, though the host nation could always opt to spring a surprise and pick both in their final XI.

"Swanny is fit," Cook announced at the pre-match press conference. "His injury was a strange one. He must have jarred his back in training and woke up with a stiff back the next day.

"That can happen but at the moment he is back and available for selection."

Cook also confirmed Joe Root will play despite a physical altercation with Australian David Warner on Saturday that resulted in the latter being stood down from his country's line-up to face New Zealand.

England will be hoping Root and the rest of the batting line-up can find a way to combat the varieties served up by Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga, who took four wickets in his side's narrow loss to the Kiwis on Sunday.

"Malinga has improved that slower ball and he has looked dangerous," Cook said. "It's something we have to be aware of and we have looked at footage of it. If you get used to facing him you can get in to a rhythm.

"If we can play him well as a unit it can really put Sri Lanka under some pressure."

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