About the Match
A dramatic comeback by the English batting line-up led to the first ODI match between the hosts and Sri Lanka being tied; the two nations will now face each other in the 2nd ODI match to be held at Birmingham on 24th June. Chasing 286 runs, England suffered from a top-order collapse but the all-rounders kept the scoreboard ticking and the tail-enders put up a tremendous show with the bat to draw level. Sri Lanka needs to pat its own back for the bowlers showed great determination to stifle the opponents and deny them a win; both teams are in good shape to outwit the other on Friday.
Their batting performance has been good so far against the Lankans and with players like Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, James Vince, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan and wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler, England has solid depth with the bat. All-rounders like David Willey, Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan can help pile up the runs from the lower middle order and also contribute in taking wickets at regular intervals.
Liam Plunkett will lead the pace attack along with the experienced Steven Finn while speedsters like Chris Woakes, Jordan and Willey bring variety to the attack; Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid will take care of the spin department and they will be eager to pull out some tricks from the bag to stifle the opponents here.
Morgan has successfully led the team in recent outings and will be positive minded about the resources at hand; while the batting line-up has strong performers, the bowling squad is well-balanced with pace and spin that gives them a definite edge over the visitors.
Kusal Perera’s brilliant knock of 135 off 128 against Ireland gave them the required boost in the 2nd ODI; along with Prasanna’s 95 and Gunathilaka’s 63, the Lankans posted a massive 378-run target. Suranga Lakmal then used his fast-bowling skills to take 4-38 while Prasanna, Shanaka, Gunathilaka, Maharoof and Mathews combined well to demolish the Irish batting line-up and win the match by 136 runs to take the series 2-0.
In the first ODI, Chandimal posted a superb century while Kusal Mendis, Mathews and Dasun Shanaka contributed well to take the total to 303, which was defended successfully by the bowlers. Shanaka has been in tremendous form with both bat and ball; his 5-43 saw the team annihilate the Irish and he can definitely repeat his magic against England too. Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep and Prasanna add depth to the attack while Lakmal’s experience is a huge asset for the team.
The batting line-up looks strong with in-form players like Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Mendis, Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne; all-rounders like Shanaka, Gunathilaka and others bring stability to the squad and if the bowlers can keep the tempo up in their wicket-taking skills, then surely they can pose a stiff challenge to England here.
Sri Lanka tamed Ireland in the one-day format but dominating England on their home turf is a whole different ball game; England has improved leaps and bounds in the shorter format of the game compared to its performance a year back and they definitely look good to outwit Lankans in the first ODI on Tuesday