Tim Bresnan has warned Sri Lanka “in-your-face” England will be unrecognisable today from the team trounced by the tourists on their last visit to Headingley.
Bresnan has had to deal with several unwelcome reminders of his part in England’s eight-wicket hammering by Sri Lanka, on his home patch, which completed a 5-0 NatWest Series whitewash five years ago. As a 21-year-old in only his fifth international, the seamer was mercilessly dispatched for 29 in just two overs as Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga battered England.
Bresnan did not play for his country again for more than two years. But he has come of age since, with historic ICC World Twenty20 and Ashes series victories to prove it - and so, he insists, have England.
“We got nailed in that series,” he said. “But everyone has moved on a lot since then. We are a much better one-day unit.”
In fact only Bresnan and two other players likely to take part today - Ian Bell and new captain Alastair Cook - survive from the chastening experience of 2006. Bresnan was also in the England team who took a much more recent hammering from Sri Lanka in Colombo, where they lost by 10 wickets in a World Cup quarter-final three months ago.
But their home record is impressive, and they are already 1-0 up in this five-match series after an opening victory at The Oval on Tuesday.
Bresnan recalls seven England players making their debuts the last time Sri Lanka toured - a far cry from the settled and streetwise line-up he sees today.
“Everyone has got a lot more confidence. We have not got seven debutants,” said the Yorkshire all-rounder.
“As a unit we did not have a lot of belief (in 2006), whereas now we are quite confident.”