Sri Lanka vs England 1st ODI : Preview and Predicted Playing XI
The Asian Islanders are set to take on the world number one ODI side, England in the opening fixture of five-match ODI series at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla on Tuesday, October 10.
Both the teams have played 70 ODIs against each other, with Sri Lanka marginally edging the head-to-head scoreline 34-33, with one tie and one no result.
England have won their last eight bilateral ODI series, including whitewashing Australia on the back of some record-breaking batting before coming from behind to beat India 2-1 most recently. Joe Root hit back-to-back unbeaten centuries to lead England to victory in the last two ODIs against India.
They did lose a one-off match against Scotland in between, but that has been a rare blip in a stunning run of form and one may expect them to start as favourites.
Batting: Joe Root and Eoin Morgan proved their form in the first warm-up match. Both hit unbeaten 90s to lead England to an eight-wicket win against the Sri Lanka Board XI.
Root has been in quite a good form in the ODIs, he 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.
England will also bank on the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, who have been in stunning form in recent times, to provide them with a quick start at the top. Bairstow has hit 615 runs in his last ten ODI innings while Roy averages 52 in his last eight games, during which he has scored 416 runs.
Bowling: England’s spin duo Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid will be key in Sri Lankan conditions. Ali took three wickets in the warm-up game and has 15 scalps in his last ten ODIs. Rashid has been their main spinner. In the recently concluded Test series against India, he had earned a Test recall. He has taken 23 wickets in his last ten ODIs.
Expected Playing XI: Eoin Morgan (C), Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood.
The Islanders will aim for a fresh start after their disappointing show at Asia Cup 2018, where they lost both the group matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan by big margins. They were dismissed for just 124 in a 137-run loss to Tigers and were then bowled out for 158 by Afghans in a 91-run loss.
Batting: Upul Tharanga has scored the most runs for the team in ODIs from this current squad and is leading the chart with 6936 runs. Kusal 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 including 5/55 against Afghanistan. He is expected to cause problems for England in home conditions
The return of Lasith Malinga was their only positive in the Asia Cup and the veteran pacer would be expected to provide breakthroughs at regular intervals. Except these two, Akila Dhananjaya and Dhananjaya De Silva are going to be their other key options and the skipper would pin his hope on them to chip in with some tidy overs and a few wickets.
Expected Playing XI: Dinesh Chandimal (C), Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga and Dushmantha Chameera.