Spin could be key for England

The left-arm orthodox of Danny Briggs and all-rounder Samit Patel, pictured, was well-served in England's 15-run victory over Pakistan

The left-arm orthodox of Danny Briggs and all-rounder Samit Patel, pictured, was well-served in England's 15-run victory over Pakistan

First published in National Sport News © by

England have seen the value of spin in both their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up victories and know they can easily take advantage if conditions continue to suit the slow men.

They certainly did at the P Sara Oval on Wednesday, where the left-arm orthodox of Danny Briggs (three for 15) and all-rounder Samit Patel was especially well-served in a 15-run win over Pakistan.

The pair, operating in the absence of the rested Graeme Swann, were complemented by seamers Jade Dernbach (three for 14) and captain Stuart Broad as England comfortably defended a total of just 111 on an awkward pitch.

Evidence from two matches at the Premadasa Stadium - where England will face Afghanistan in their opening Group A match on Friday - suggest pace will be just as important as spin there.

But 21-year-old Briggs noted after England had completed their warm-up campaign with a second successive win - they beat Australia by nine runs on Monday - that they have the personnel to play three quality spinners if appropriate.

Asked if that might happen, he said: "Possibly. With the squad we've got, we have a lot of options - depending on what the pitch is like - so that's one way we could go."

Whether the Premadasa Stadium is conducive to him, or others, Briggs has seen enough Sri Lanka pitches over the past week and with the England Performance Programme last winter, to know that spin is a major weapon.

"We've got to play spin well as batsmen and deliver it well because there are world-class players out there," he said. "England's toughest group match appears to be against India on Sunday, but they know they cannot afford to underestimate their first opponents either. We can't take Afghanistan lightly and will have to really punish them as well and get off to a good start."

After that, he hopes England's hard-fought win against Pakistan will turn out to be especially worthwhile reconnaissance to take on India.

"They're from a similar place and play the same way, so it's always good preparation," he added.

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