England vs Sri Lanka, second ODI: Preview and predicted playing XI
After a rain washout in the series opener, both Sri Lanka and English will aim to grab early honours when they face each other in the second fixture of five-match ODI series at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla on Saturday, October 13.
Both teams have played 71 ODIs against each other, with Sri Lanka marginally edging the head-to-head scoreline 34-33, with one tie and two no results.
Despite both the teams gearing up for the game, there is a chance of rain in Dambulla on Saturday as well, which is expected to halt the proceedings in between.
Following the washout in the first ODI on Wednesday after just 15 overs of play were possible, if the second ODI is curtailed on Saturday, then it will be played on the reserve day i.e. October 14, a luxury that was not available for the series opener.
England clearly showed that they are going to use this series as a preparation for their World Cup plans, and one might expect some twists and turns in their playing XI. The first game saw two players, Olly Stone and Liam Dawson, making their way into England line-up, which clearly elaborates their strategy and are likely to play the same XI to give them a fair chance to prove their worth in the squad.
Batting: Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy will once again be looking to get England off to a solid start after passing 1,000 ODI runs together in the calendar year during their partnership of 49 in the opening game of the series. After getting starts, both threw away their wickets in space of five balls, which they will hope to rectify in the second encounter.
Root has been in quite a good form in the ODIs and had an excellent ODI series against India. Morgan too had a good series against India, he hit two half-centuries in three innings. The team will bank on these two experienced campaigners to hold the fort during the middle overs and provide a solid platform for the power hitters to flourish during the death overs.
Bowling: England bowlers went unused in the first game and their spin duo Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid will eager to get used in the second fixture, Ali took three wickets in the warm-up game and has 15 scalps in his last ten ODIs. Rashid has taken 23 wickets in his last ten innings. Provided the change in wicket conditions after the recent rain, the pace attack of Chris Woakes and Mark Wood will finally resume their new ball partnership and are likely to rattle the opposition early on.
Expected Playing XI: Eoin Morgan (C), Adil Rashid, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Liam Dawson or Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Joe Root and Olly Stone.
The Islanders are going through a transition phase and nobody is quite sure whether the dropping of Mathews and the interim appointment of Dinesh Chandimal as captain, will have a galvanising or demoralising effect on Sri Lanka. However, given the fact that English man didn't get much game time to familiarize with conditions, there is an opportunity for the home team to catch them cold in the rest of the series.
Batting: Mathew-less Sri Lanka will eye new stars in their batting lineup and will look after Upul Tharanga and Kusal Perera to get their campaign off to a good start. Tharanga has scored the most runs for the team in ODIs from this current squad and is leading the chart with 6936 runs while Perera was amongst the leading run-getters in the previous home series against South Africa with 179 runs. These two, along with Niroshan Dickwella, need to shoulder the responsibility of propelling the team towards a competitive total.
Bowling: Thisara Perera has done a decent job for Sri Lanka in ODIs and has taken 19 wickets in last ten ODIs and is expected to cause problems for England in home conditions. While Nuwan Pradeep and Akila Dhananjaya were their only wicket-takers in rain halted chaah and both are going to be their key options in second ODI.
Lasith Malinga made a rusty start to the series as he conceded more than seven runs an over with the new ball in first ODI. The veteran pacer would be expected to rectify it and provide early breakthroughs.
Expected Playing XI: Dinesh Chandimal (C), Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Upul Tharanga and Thisara Perera.