England takes on Sri Lanka in the 2nd ODI of a three-match series on Thursday at the Kennington Oval in London. England took a 1-0 lead in the series after cruising to a five-wicket win, with close to 15 overs to spare.
Sri Lanka struggled to post runs on the board once again after being put in to bat. Their already tentative-looking batting order was further weakened by the suspension of three of their most experienced batters due to a bio-bubble breach.
Vice-captain Kusal Mendis, wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella, and opening batter Danushka Gunathilaka are all key players of this Sri Lankan side, and skipper Kusal Perera fielded three debutants in their absence.
Dhananjaya Lakshan, Charith Asalanka, and spinner Praveen Jayawickrama all had a trying debut game, with neither of them making much of a difference. They are likely to get another opportunity and will look to seize this opening with both hands.
Sri Lanka was stranded at 46/3 when Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga stitched a 99-run partnership that gave the team some hope. However, following Hasaranga's dismissal, Sri Lanka unraveled and eventually bowled out for 185.
Chris Woakes was the main architect of England's brilliant outing with the ball. The seamer was absolutely unplayable and finished with figures of 4/18 in ten overs at an astonishing economy rate of 1.80. He deservedly won the 'Player of the Match' award.
In response, England got off to a flying start. Despite some good bowling from the in-form Dushmantha Chameera, England, led by an unbeaten 87-ball 79 from Joe Root, romped home with ease.
England was without ODI regulars Jos Buttler and Jason Roy for this match, with Dawid Malan also opting out of the squad due to personal reasons. As a result, Liam Livingstone opened with Jonny Bairstow and is likely to continue doing so for the 2nd ODI.
As has been the story throughout the series, it's Sri Lanka's batting that has mostly let them down. Skipper Kusal Perera will hope that his teammates will rally together and score enough runs to help their bowlers win them the game.
With both teams eyeing the all-important Super League points, they will be determined to win every game they play in.
Date: July 1, 2021 (Thursday)
Time: 01:00 PM (Local/ BST), 5:30 PM (IST), and 12:00 PM (GMT)
Venue: Kennington Oval, London
It should be a good day for a game of cricket in Kennington, London, on Thursday. The temperature should hover around 22 degrees Celsius on a partly cloudy day. There is little chance of any rain interruptions arising.
The Kennington Oval is a relatively high-scoring venue and the wicket offers some assistance to the seamers. The team batting first should aim to score more than 300 to stay in the game.
England should stick with the same playing XI for this match. It is an excellent opportunity for Sam Billings and Liam Livingstone, in the absence of players like Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, and they will be determined to make it count.
Sri Lanka is also likely to persist with a similar playing XI for the second ODI and give their debutants and newcomers more time on the cricket field. They could, however, opt to bring back the experienced Isuru Udana to give them an extra pace-bowling option.
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera(C/WK), Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana/ Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, and Praveen Jayawickrama.
While this game should be closer than the 1st ODI, it's not wise to bet against an in-form England side. They are likely to seal the series with a win on Thursday.
Prediction: England to win
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