England takes on Sri Lanka in the first ODI of a three-match series on Tuesday, June 29, at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street.
England comprehensively beat the visitors 3-0 in the T20I series, despite losing Jos Buttler to a calf injury after the first T20I.
While Sri Lanka showed some fight in the second T20I, especially with the ball, they were blown away by the might of the England side in the first and third T20Is.
Their batting looks like a place of concern, with scores of 129/7, 111/7, and 91 all-out, clearly highlighting the issue. While the series was low-scoring, the fact that none of the Sri Lankan batters who played all three matches had a strike rate of more than 100 is telling.
However, their bowlers did put up a good fight throughout the series, with seamer Dushmantha Chameera excelling with the new ball and in the death.
He finished as the highest wicket-taker of the series, with six wickets in three games at an economy rate of 6.27. Chameera combined well with Binura Fernando, and the duo will look to replicate their success in the ODIs.
England, meanwhile, would've been pleased to see Dawid Malan back among the runs in the third T20I after a couple of uncharacteristic innings in the first and second T20Is.
The southpaw made a sizzling 48-ball 76 on a challenging surface to bat on, leading England to a total of 180/6.
Sam Curran won the Player of the Series award for chipping in with crucial runs and wickets in all three matches. The youngster has shown his potential in the last couple of years and will look to carry his form into the ODI series.
Eoin Morgan's team is likely to test out some of their bench players in the series in the absence of Jos Buttler and possibly Jason Roy. Young pacer George Carton and all-rounder Liam Livingstone are two players who could get some opportunities in this series.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will look to get at least one win to give them some confidence ahead of their future endeavors.
Having lost hands-down to Bangladesh in their last ODI outing and losing 3-0 in the T20Is against England, Kusal Perera's side could gain lots from a positive result in these ODIs. They'll also look to work towards building their best playing XI.
While England will start as overwhelming favorites, Sri Lanka will look to replicate the fight they showed in the second T20I and stun the hosts. Expect a well-contested opening encounter at Chester-le-Street.
Date: June 29, 2021 (Tuesday).
Time: 11:00 AM (Local/ BST), 3:30 PM (IST), and 10:00 AM (GMT).
Venue: Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street.
It should be pleasant in Chester-le-Street on the day of the match, with an average temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius and minimal chances of rain interruptions.
It's been close to two years since an international game has been played at the Riverside Ground. The surface should be pretty neutral, with something in it for both the batters and bowlers.
The recent past has witnessed plenty of high scores. Anything above 300 could make for a fighting total.
England should field a relatively full-strength team with those players present in their squad. Jonny Bairstow is likely to keep wickets in Buttler's absence unless they field Sam Billings instead. Moeen Ali is likely to feature as the side's second spinner along with Adil Rashid.
Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and David Willey could be the team's four fast-bowling options for the match. Joe Root should return to the team, slotting at No.3 or 4. Jason Roy should also recover in time from his niggle to open the innings with Bairstow.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (C), Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone/ David Willey, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, and Mark Wood.
Danushka Gunathilaka and Oshada Fernando could open the batting for Sri Lanka, with skipper Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis slotting in at No.3 and No.4. Niroshan Dickwella should keep wickets and bat in the middle-order, and if not, Kusal Perera could wear the keeping gloves.
Wanindu Hasaranga and Dasun Shanaka could be the X-Factors for Sri Lanka with their all-round abilities likely to be called up to the fore. Isuru Udana and Binura Fernando should support the in-form Dushmantha Chameera in Sri Lanka's pace battery.
Young left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama could make his ODI debut as an alternative to Akila Dananjaya.
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Oshada Fernando/ Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera(C/WK), Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella(WK)/ Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, and Akila Dananjaya/ Praveen Jayawickrama.
Given the strength and firepower of their team and the home advantage, England should cruise to a win in the first ODI.
Prediction: England to win.
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