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|Dhananjaya de Silva||17||28||2||0||60.71|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||4.0||0||18||0||4.50|
The Sri Lanka vs England series, one that was supposed to a major test for England in subcontinental conditions, is turning out to be very literally a damp squib. The scheduling of this series right in the middle of monsoon season in Sri Lanka is bewildering. The tiny island nation sees buckets of rainfall during this time and it has been different.
As a result, we have to got to witness cricket only in the middle of huge downpours and always played with the threat of more rain arriving. Be that as it may, England leads the series 2-0 after three matches, and is well within sight of winning the series.
Sri Lanka is finding it very difficult to break out from the ODI rut that has now extended two years and another series being blanked out is on the cards.
The last match of the series was whittled down to 21 overs and so really should have been played like a T20 rather than a fifty over inning. There is a saying in cricket that the difference in skill becomes less magnified as the matches start to become smaller so Sri Lanka would have been happy with this situation.
Unfortunately for them, the problems in their cricket don’t seem temporary and refuse to go away. Another re-shuffling of the players from what is now an exhausted pool has shown no better results.
Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Chandmal, Dhananjaya de Silva, and now Smarawickrama were not smart enough or good enough to combat the England bowlers. The smaller length of the inning meant that the bowlers had to be attacked and that eventually played right in the hands of the England bowlers.
Can Sri Lanka find a way to get some of its batsmen in run-scoring form? The Coach seems to believe that he can shuffle the players into some kind of form but we believe a more important question must now be asked.
Are these players good enough? After how many chances do you start to accept that the players may not be good enough to perform consistently? More or less this same set of players has been getting chances for a long time now and they continue to make the same mistakes again and again.
Yes, all of the players have innings and stretches in their careers where they were performing very well. But was that a brief form of good form from an average player or is this an extended run of poor form for a good player?
If the former is the case then Sri Lanka must look for other players or start at their junior levels.
The old warhorse Lasith Malinga finds himself the leader of this attack once again thanks to the five-wicket haul he took earlier in the series. He bowled at difficult times in the last match as well but did not have the effect he wanted.
Malinga is playing his last stretch of cricket and another dip in Sri Lankan cricket can be expected when he bows out again.
Among the present bowlers, we think Aponso and Akila Dananjaya are the ones to stick with, particularly if the match gets curtailed.
Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis , Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Amila Aponso, Kasun Rajitha.
The sign of a quality team is that it can continue to keep on evolving as the opposition tried to find its weaknesses. For this England side, spin and wrist spin, in particular, was believed to be that weakness.
England, though, is showing that it is finding a way to counter that too and in the process becoming a more rounded side.
This evolution of English cricket should be seen as frightening for all other teams in the light of the upcoming World Cup 2019. England is going to be playing at how and is slowly ticking off all the boxes. Eoin Morgan, who said he would drop himself from the side if needed, has responded to questions about his place in the side with a spate of good scores.
Morgan, along with Bairstow, Root, and Ben Stokes is showing that facing spin does not need to be a bugbear for England anymore.
Now that England is 2-0 up in the series with just two matches to go, is there any chance of experimentation? We certainly believe that England has the depth to be able to look further into this squad.
Someone like Alex Hales will be chomping for a chance, maybe bat Moeen Ali a little up the order and give him a hit or shuffle the fast bowlers around. Liam Plunkett is expected to be back for the last two matches of the series, so how he fits in will be interesting.
While the batting is in good form for sure, it is the English bowling which is causing fans around the world to get excited. Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, Ollie Stone, Tom Curran, Woakes, and Stokes played in the last match. These are six genuine bowlers that would walk into most teams around the world at the moment.
There is also a surfeit of talent waiting on the sidelines.
Curran, with his variations and the ability to bowl in the death, Rashid with his wicket-taking ability in the middle, and Stone with his express pace are all giving this attack a new look altogether.
This team has every base covered and while England has been known to collapse spectacularly from time to time, the consistency of the side is improving and we are not sure Sri Lanka is strong enough to really push it.
JJ Roy, AD Hales, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, BA Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, CR Woakes, AU Rashid, Tom Curran, Olly Stone.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first with the rain around
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The weather forecast in Kandy is for rain, rain, and more rain. Cricket is going to be played in intervals between the rains and whether that is enough time to get a result remains to be seen.
The pitch in Kandy is usually very flat and good for batting. If the match does take place then a score of 300 plus should be seen in all probability.
The odds on Sri Lanka have to be really astronomical to warrant a bet but that is not the case right now. We believe that home conditions are being given too much importance by the punters even when it is clearly not playing a huge role.
Back England to win.