About the Match
England at home is a difficult team to beat as was witnessed in the first one-day match against the visiting team, Sri Lanka on 22nd May, wherein the match was reduced to a 39-over contest due to bad weather which England won with a wide margin of 81 runs under D/L method. The two teams face each other again on 25th May at Chester le Street in the 2nd ODI. Can the home team repeat the feat in the series and overtake the Sri Lankans in their international ranking, having started well with a 1-0 series lead or will the visitors bounce back? This will be known on Sunday, when the crowds will gather to see their side putting its best foot forward, provided they get an all clear from the weather department.
Cook opted for a combination of 2 spinners and 4 fast bowlers to tackle the formidable Sri Lankans, leaving aside Bresnan, Carberry and Woakes, which worked for the team. Put into bat, the opening pair of Cook and Bell did not survive long, when Cook departed making 11 off 22 balls; Bell and Balance steadied the innings and together they added 79 runs for the 2nd wicket, Bell going in 21st over after a well made 50 from 88 balls. Balance was the highest scorer with 64 from 93 balls and held one end till he departed in the 30th over. Root, Buttler and Jordan chipped in and ensured a challenging target of 248 in 39 overs. Anderson removed the opener Thiramanne in his very 1st over and Jordan was the most effective bowler with 3 wickets to contain the Lankans as the bowlers affected casualty regularly. Their fielding was good to support a balanced bowling attack, which bundled out the Lankans for 144 in less than 30 overs. England will not like to change the winning combination, with Buttler doing a good job behind the stumps, accounting for two Sri Lankan batsmen.
Sri Lanka did not live up to the expectations in the rain affected match that was reduced to 32 overs when they batted; the calculations of Mathews did not go right, Malinga not able to create an opening, leading the bowling attack. The pitch played sportively and the Lankans too had a balanced bowling with slow and pace attack; only Kulasekhara and Senanayake could handle the England batsmen, but they too could not create a dent in the opposing batting line up. Except for Dilshan and Jayawardene, no other batsman could really resist the English attack and they collapsed much below the target, with more than 4 overs to spare. The Lankans need to adapt to the conditions of the English weather and pitch without much delay as the situation may be out of control in the short series with very limited breathing time. They have the talent and squad who have performed in both overseas and at home with equal blow to the opposing team; they only need to re-discover the will power to stand at the wicket and deliver.
While England is looking very good at the moment, the Lankans will try and make a comeback with this game with more determination and commitment. Though the match could swing either way, it will be interesting to see Sri Lanka square up the series and bounce back, which seems to be more likely here.
Sri Lanka, 2.10 @ Bet365