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|Dhananjaya de Silva||36||50||2||1||72.00|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||4.0||0||19||1||4.75|
The weather played spoilsport in the first ODI and only 15 overs were possible on the entire day. The short duration of play did allow us to get a look at the playing eleven's and get a good idea of the strategy that we can expect moving forward.
England would have been the more disappointed side after having the game washed away because a longer series allows its superior skills to win out. Now that the series has been reduced to four matches, there is a better chance for Sri Lanka to spring a surprise.
It remains to be seen if any play is going to be possible in this second match that has also been scheduled in Dambulla. As of now, it looks highly unlikely.
The home team went with a conventional selection of players that they cannot be faulted for in the first match. The team is trying to rebuild around another leadership change and it was understandable to see the tried and tested being relied upon.
Tharanga, Dickwella, and Kusal Perera make up the top-three of the side. That’s three left-handers in succession, however, that should not be a deterrent. All three are different players have match-winning capabilities to put the opposition on the back foot.
None of the Sri Lankans got a chance to bat but it will be interesting to see what kind of approach the top-order takes. We get the feeling sometimes that Dickwella and Perera don’t realize the amount of time they have in ODI cricket. They can afford to take their time and continue to score at a good rate without unnecessary risks.
The middle order of Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, and Thisara Perera is pretty long but not the most convincing. Chandimal is returning after a long layoff, Dhananjaya de Silva keeps getting shunted around in the batting order while the two all-rounders are better when coming in after the 35th over.
A couple of early wickets could see Sri Lanka crumble. On the contrary, a good start could allow the middle order to take its time and the power-hitters to come into force later on.
Lasith Malinga looked decent in the five overs he bowled but nowhere near as threatening as he did in the Asia Cup. We cannot help but think his recall is a backward step for Sri Lanka that will haunt them in the games to come.
With Nuwan Pradeep as the only other recognized fast bowler. It will be down to Akila Dananjaya and Lashkan Sandakan to do the most damage. Both are mystery spinners with plenty of variations up their sleeves and should pose a decent challenge to the Englishmen.
WU Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, N Pradeep.
There was not much that England would have learned about its side in Sri Lankan conditions in the few overs it faced but the team selection gave us a good idea of who its first choice players are building up to the World Cup.
Alex Hales was one of the big names to miss out and that’s a big shame. His presence on the bench will put pressure on Bairstow, Root, Morgan, and even the all-rounders because he is just that good. Still, it is safe to assume that the same playing eleven as the last match will take the field in the second ODI.
Jason Roy loves playing against Sri Lanka and has scored tons of runs against them. He got out trying to clear the infield against Akila Dananjaya but don’t expect him to change his style of play. He is going to go hard and we are keen to back him to come good next time around.
Bairstow also got a start and threw away his wicket to a poor shot. He has done well for England as an opener and can be assured of his place for the next few games but he cannot afford to not score runs for too long in a strong setup like this.
Root and Morgan looked very comfortable for the time that they were in the middle and looked set for big scores of their own. The brilliance of England’s all-rounders and their sheer numbers allowed England to play three frontline fast bowlers and three genuine spinners without compromising on their batting strength.
That is just incredibly flexible from a team-building point of view and encourages us to believe that England should be able to counter any conditions that Sri Lanka throws at them.
Ollie Stone was included in the playing eleven and we are very excited to see him. He is someone that has genuine pace and that is perhaps the one thing that England needs in its side. Woakes and Stokes will also need to bowl their quota of overs in most matches so their fitness will be another thing that the English side will be keeping a close eye on.
In Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, and Liam Dawson, England definitely has the spinners to be able to trouble Sri Lanka as well.
JJ Roy, Jonny Bairstow, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, BA Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, CR Woakes, LA Dawson, AU Rashid, Olly Stone.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first with all the rain around
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The pitch looked good for batting even though it was pretty slow. Akila Dananjaya got a few balls to grip off the surface but there was nothing too alarming to suggest carnage was around the corner. As far as the weather goes, we have some bad news. The forecast is for rain, rain, and more rain. In fact, the forecast for the first match was probably the most encouraging one this week.
There is a very good chance of the match not being completed and the series being reduced to a three-match encounter.
England has all the aces in its hand while Sri Lanka is banking on hoe conditions and good luck. We recommend you stick with backing the away team in this encounter and possibly put in an early bet for a series victory as well by a margin of 3-0.
Back England to win.
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