England To Kick Off Sri Lanka Series With Victory

England begin their five-match one-day international series against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

The Three Lions return to the 50-over arena for the first time since defeating India 2-1 over the summer, entrenching themselves as the leading outfit in the world in the format.

Eoin Morgan’s men have won their last eight series of over three matches on the bounce. The only recent blemish on their record was their stunning defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh.

England put on a clinic to see off India in their clash over the summer, with Joe Root driving his team to victory with back-to-back hundreds. They will be aiming to continue their momentum ahead of the World Cup against a Sri Lanka side that have struggled for form.

Angelo Matthews paid the price for his side’s exit from the Asia Cup, seeing the captaincy stripped from his possession along with being dropped from the squad. Dinesh Chandimal has assumed the leadership role from the all-rounder, with a huge challenge on his hands against the world’s best.

Sri Lanka are ranked eighth in the rankings heading into the series and are without a series victory in a head-to-head contest since 2016 when they defeated Ireland. The home side will need to start with a bang in Dambulla.

England will get off the mark with a win

Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman

The home side will be up against it playing England, who will be determined to rack up the runs. Sri Lanka’s batsmen will have to match the runs scored by the tourists, which was their downfall in the Asia Cup. The Lions seemingly had a passage through to the latter stages of the tournament, only to suffer losses at the hands of Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Matthews paid the price with his dismissal as captain, paving the way for Chandimal assume the role. The new skipper has to set the tone with the bat, although he will have support from players at the top of the order.

Upul Thuranga and Niroshan Dickwella will be under pressure to get their side off to rapid starts opening the innings. Thuranga has a good record against England, averaging 51.84 in his 16 matches against the Three Lions. The 33-year-old has made three of his 15 centuries against England and he will be aiming to continue his impressive array of scores with another fine performance at Dambulla. Thuranga does not have the best record at Dambulla, but back him to lead the way at +350   with Bet365.

England’s Top Batsman

The Three Lions return to action in the 50-over format after another underwhelming time with the bat in the Test series against India. Root scored a century in the final match of the summer to notch his 14th hundred in Test match cricket, although he had a relatively lean time in the campaign. Jonny Bairstow also struggled to find his form along with Ben Stokes in the middle order. Jos Buttler was one of the few players to operate at a high level. The decision to recall him to the Test side by Ed Smith proved to be a shrewd one.

Those players now have to turn their attention back to one-day style where they have dominated, especially on flat tracks. It may not be the case in Sri Lanka where the pitches will be slower and lower than what the Three Lions are used to. Root’s value as a nudger and nurdler will come to the fore in the series. The power-hitters of Bairstow and Jason Roy may have problems getting the ball to the boundary as they have been accustomed to. Back Root to lead the way for his team in the opener at odds of +300   with Bet365.

Sri Lanka’s Top Bowler

Akila Dananjaya is the rising star of Sri Lanka’s bowling attack with his right-arm off-spin. The 25-year-old has hit the ground running in his professional career, shining in the Test and the ODI formats. He stunned South Africa with a six-wicket spell in Colombo to guide his team to a thumping victory over the Proteas. Dananjaya has the ability to cause England trouble with his mystery spin. The Three Lions have been troubled in the sub-continent before by spinners with the ability to move the ball in both directions.

It will be interesting to see where Chandimal deploys Dananjaya in the bowling attack. He could use him to open the innings to stymie the power of Bairstow and Roy. Both of those batsmen have had issues cutting loose against spin and it could provide the impetus that Sri Lanka need to restrict the Three Lions to a manageable total. Back him at +225   with Bet365 to lead the wicket column for the home side.

England’s Top Bowler

The Three Lions will need their spinners to come to the fore in the sub-continent. Another one of Smith’s decisions that raised eyebrows in the summer was to recall Rashid to the Test squad. The 30-year-old had turned his back on the red-ball game after penning a white-ball only contract with Yorkshire. Rashid fail to rise to the occasion in the Test matches, playing second fiddle to Moeen Ali, who found a new lease of life. Ali was the player that put India under pressure supporting the seamers, being the first port of call for Root ahead of the leg-spinner.

Rashid has been the senior figure in the 50-over format. He has not always thrived outside of England, pressing the need for a huge series from the leg-spinner. Rashid’s consistency has been impressive since his recall into the side in 2015, but the Three Lions will want to see more him in advantageous conditions on the road. Back Rashid to lead the wicket column in Dambulla at odds of +300   with 888Sport.

Match Verdict

The England of old would not travel well to Sri Lanka, notably suffering a heavy defeat on their last visit to the country in their ODI series, resulting in the sacking of Alastair Cook as skipper before the World Cup.

Morgan’s men are the best team in the world and will assert their authority from the off against the home side. Back England to claim the victory with relative ease at odds of -238   with 888Sport.

Tips Summary

England To Beat Sri Lanka
Wednesday 10th October 2018 10:00 BST
Odds: -238

Upul Tharanga To Be Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman
Wednesday 10th October 2018 10:00 BST
Odds: +350

Akila Dananjaya To Be Sri Lanka’s Top Bowler
Wednesday 10th October 2018 10:00 BST
Odds: +225

Joe Root To Be England’s Top Batsman
Wednesday 10th October 2018 10:00 BST
Odds: +300

Adil Rashid To Be England’s Top Bowler
Wednesday 10th October 2018 10:00 BST
Odds: +300

cricket
Dinesh Chandimal
England
Eoin Morgan
sri lanka

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