The man who led Sri Lanka to its last World Cup title says the team will not have a better chance of winning the tournament for many years.
Arjuna Ranatunga, who played for Sri Lanka from 1982 to 2000, told Wednesday's The Island newspaper that playing at home in the quarterfinals and semifinals is a huge advantage.
Playing at home was "a luxury we couldn't afford when we won the World Cup in 1996," he said.
Sri Lanka beat Australia in the 1996 final in the last World Cup staged in Asia. It was one of the most stunning runs at a World Cup to date.
The Sri Lankans lost in the 2007 final to Australia at Barbados, and are among the leading contenders for the 2011 title.
"The World Cup proper begins from the quarterfinal onwards and we need to start playing our best cricket," said Ranatunga, who scored 3,757 ODI runs at an average of 47.55.
Ranatunga said Sri Lanka will not have a better chance in 15 years of winning the tournament.
Sri Lanka face an inconsistent England in Colombo in the quarterfinal and New Zealand or South Africa in the semifinal if they win on Saturday. The final is played in Mumbai, India.
Ranatunga said England will struggle against Sri Lanka's spin attack led by Muttiah Muralitharan, but should not be underestimated.
"Andrew Strauss has led England admirably in this tournament and his leadership skills have been one of the standouts for me in England's campaign."
Ranatunga said he is concerned about Sri Lanka's middle order, with Angelo Mathews, Thilan Samaraweera and Chamara Silva yet to score serious runs. "I am glad our top order is among the runs," he said. "All four of them have made hundreds in the tournament so far."
Ranatunga was top runscorer for Sri Lanka in the 1987, 1992 and 1996 tournaments.
Saturday's match is a sell-out and several thousand people were left disappointed on Tuesday when the last tickets were sold out within an hour. Sri Lankan newspapers claimed many had been snapped up by ticket tours and were being re-sold at many times their face value.