England takes on Sri Lanka in the third and final ODI of a three-match series on Sunday, July 4, at the County Ground, in Bristol. England sealed the series with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory on Thursday.
Despite resting Chris Woakes, who was the star of the first match, England put the Sri Lankan batters to the sword after winning the toss and electing to bowl.
Sam Curran wreaked havoc with the new ball, picking up three wickets in two overs and reducing Sri Lanka to 12/3 in four overs. Soon, young Charith Asalanka also perished, leaving Sri Lanka stranded at 21/4.
While it seemed like another collapse would be on the cards, Dhananjaya de Silva joined forces with Wanindu Hasaranga to rebuild Sri Lanka's innings.
De Silva made a 91-ball 91 and was well supported by Sri Lanka's middle and lower-middle order, who chipped in with runs to build small partnerships.
However, Sri Lanka's innings never seemed to threaten the England bowlers, and while they did manage to bat out the 50 overs this time around, a total of 241/9 was never going to trouble the England batters.
Sam Curran was the pick of the bowlers for England. The left-arm seamer picked up his maiden ODI five-wicket haul, finishing with figures of 5/48 in his 10 overs.
In reply, England was always in control of the chase, with the returning Jason Roy, skipper Eoin Morgan, and Joe Root all registering 50+scores. While the Sri Lankan bowlers didn't bowl that badly, there was a minimal threat to the England batters.
Morgan and Joe Root stitched an unbeaten 140-run partnership to take England home with seven overs to spare.
While the weather forecast for the third ODI doesn't look great, both teams will be itching to get some cricketing action. A win in the final ODI would give Sri Lanka a good confidence boost ahead of the home series against India.
England added Tom Banton to their squad as a replacement for Dawid Malan ahead of the second ODI.
They're likely to provide some game-time to some of their newer recruits, although they'll be keen to complete the whitewash in the ODIs as well.
Date: July 4, 2021 (Sunday)
Time: 11:00 AM (Local/ BST), 3:30 PM (IST), and 10:00 AM (GMT)
Venue: County Ground, Bristol.
Rain is likely to play spoilsport in the third ODI, with continuous showers forecast for most of the day. The temperature should be around 17 degrees celsius.
The playing surface at the County Ground should create a balanced contest between bat and ball.
The venue has traditionally assisted the seamers, but more recently, the batters have also had a good time in the middle. A score of around 300 should make for a competitive game.
England could rest some of their key players to provide opportunities to some of their bench players, now that the series has been wrapped up.
Pacer George Garton could replace Mark Wood in the playing XI, while Liam Dawson could take Moeen Ali's place. Tom Banton and Liam Livingstone could also get a game at the top of the order if Jonny Bairstow wants a rest.
England: Tom Banton/ Jonny Bairstow(WK), Jason Roy/ Liam Livingstone, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Sam Billings, Liam Dawson/ Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, David Willey, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, and George Garton.
With the series done and dusted, Sri Lanka could opt to give more game-time to some youngsters. One among Praveen Jayawickrama and Shiran Fernando should replace Asitha Fernando depending on whether they want a spinner or a pacer.
Dhananjaya Lakshan could also get a game in the middle order, with Ramesh Mendis a decent alternative.
Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera(C/WK), Pathum Nissanka/ Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dhananjaya Lakshan/ Ramesh Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, and Praveen Jayawickrama/ Shiran Fernando.
Sri Lanka put on a better display on Thursday but was still outclassed by England. Even if they rest some of their key players for this game, England will fancy their chances of pulling off a win if the rain doesn't interrupt the match.
Prediction: England to win (assuming that play isn't abandoned)
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