England vs. Sri Lanka 5th ODI Preview: Alastair Cook positive
After falling behind 2-1 in the series, England ravished the 4th ODI to set up the ultimate encounter at Manchester. Sri Lanka failed to make a mark in the Test Series and a victory in the single T-20 encounter does little to justify their tour. Winning this ODI series will mean a lot for them as they will go back on level terms. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have played match winning innings for the side before and their contribution on Saturday will be vital. On the other hand, England will rely on their pace battery once again to do the damage. They have made full use of the conditions and the wicket is likely to be customized for their use.
James Anderson and Tim Bresnan have consistently threatened the Lankan top order. Stuart Broad has not been at his lethal best in this series but Alastair Cook has invested a great deal of faith in his ability. Cook said, “He’s got a world-class one-day record, and it wouldn’t surprise me if on Saturday he goes bang, bang, bang, bang – and takes a ‘five-for’ out of nowhere”. Cook himself did himself a favor by knocking the small target of 174 with Kieswetter in the 4th ODI. The newly appointed captain was facing heavy criticism from the English media but the storm has been weathered for a while at least.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka and England have won their respective matches in an emphatic style. There were some outstanding individual performances to explain that like Jayawardene’s career best 144 in the second ODI. Alastair Cook has proved his worth as a limited overs cricketer again and again in this series and he will be the man to deal with for Sri Lanka. Kumar Sangakkara is steady but Mahela Jayawardene can be explosive.
The pitch at Manchester is an unknown quantity at the moment but the trend so far suggests that it is likely to have a bearing on the result of the match. England bowlers enjoy lateral swing whereas rough and placid tracks will work in Sri Lanks’s favor. Traditionally, the wicket has been known for its pace and bounce but it has been re-laid in the winter. The average first innings score at the venue is 216. A modest total may make up for a close encounter and the series is in desperate need for one.