22nd May: Sunrisers v Rajasthan Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
England are currently ranked as the number one test team in the world.
Follow the boys to the 'Pearl of the India Ocean' as they aim to cement their position.
|Join Howzat Travel for England's Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka 2012
Under the thoughtful leadership of Andrew Strauss, England are developing into an even more omnipotent test side. With the run accumulators Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, the run explosionists Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan and the aesthetically pleasing Ian Bell; Matthew Prior and Graeme Swann are currently the world's number one wicket keeper and spin bowler respectively and then there is the strength in depth provided by top class fast bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn; a rich seam of current talent that the Aussies could only dream of.
And what of their opponents? We did not see the Sri Lankans at their best when they toured England in the early part of summer 2011, although hindsight has shown they gave England a closer series of test matches than the Indians managed. In their own sultry, sweaty and spinning conditions they are a far more potent force. Yes, they have lost Muralitharan and the wonderful Malinga, but there is a new generation of 'mystery' spinners and awkward fast bowlers to overcome, as well as some of the most talented wristy batsmen in the world such as Jayawardene and Sangakarra. A battle of skills will evolve in front of your eyes and maybe - hopefully - our support will carry England home.
The England team always speak of how grateful they are for their overseas support and what a difference it makes to be cheered and sung to when far away from home. For those that have not watched England overseas before, you are in for a treat; it is like being part of a special community, the extended network of 'team England', you are far closer to them than you are at a test match in England, seeing them in the hotels and occasionally the restaurants and bars.
Sri Lanka is a cricketing mad country and a land of sheer beauty. Venture away from the bustling cities and you will find wonderful beaches that look like nature's paradise, neat rows of tea plantations growing on cool hills surrounded by majestic mountains overlooking a waterfall plunging into deep valleys below. You can visit game parks teaming with wildlife, unique botanical gardens, magnificent ancient caves, temples of rich heritage and a very special elephant orphanage. Travelling through Sri Lanka on a long and winding road of exquisite beauty is an experience that no one should let pass them by.
So, take on board the Sri Lankan's Buddhist philosophy; only think positively and come and enjoy the best of all worlds; the beaches, sightseeing, sport and then return to England refreshed, relaxed and with an enviable tan.
Howzat Travel - the UK's leading specialist cricket tour operator - prides itself on its tour group spirit and has the largest, most extensive range of great value tours to Sri Lanka 2012 - one or two test tours, 3*/4*/5* accommodation, optional sightseeing, Heathrow, Birmingham or Manchester flights, match tickets guaranteed. Maldives extensions also available.
Extracts are taken from Sporting Travels of a Karoo Son by Des Newton and Alicia Hellier © Newton/Hellier