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Will England Open With A Win Against Sri Lanka?

November 4, 2018

England will aim to build on their series win over India at the end of the summer in the first match of their Test series against Sri Lanka.

Joe Root’s men bounced back from their difficult tour of Australia where the Three Lions were hammered 4-0 by their bitter rivals. England found their form over the course of the summer, drawing against Pakistan before crushing India by an emphatic 4-1 scoreline.

The Three Lions now have the challenge of taking their form on the road. The success of the limited-overs side has not been replicated by the Test team of late overseas. As a result there is pressure on Root and company to thrive in a new era without the erstwhile presence of Alastair Cook.

Rory Burns is the man that comes into the line-up to face Sri Lanka as the tourists look for longevity in the opening partnership that has evaded them since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012.

It has been six years since England last toured Sri Lanka and it will be a tough task, with the Lions fresh off an impressive win over South Africa in July.

Will Sri Lanka beat England in the 1st Test?

Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman

It took time for Sri Lanka to hit their stride in the ODI series, but their batsmen began to find their form by the end in their hammering of England in the final match. Niroshan Dickwella found his touch at the top of the innings, blasting a score of 95 in their triumph in Colombo. He drops down the order for the Test matches, with Dimuth Karunaratne taking his place as the opener.

Karunaratne was one of the key players in Sri Lanka’s victory over South Africa earlier in the year. The 30-year-old scored a brilliant unbeaten century in his side’s win in Galle along with a fifty in the second innings. He followed his performance with another two half-centuries in Colombo.

He has a good average of 37.28, with eight hundreds and 17 fifties to his name. Karunaratne will face the ultimate test against James Anderson with the new ball. Outside of England, Anderson will not be as effective, although it will remain a crucial period in the innings for the home side. The 30-year-old does not have the best record against the Three Lions, struggling on his two tours overseas. However, he will have the opportunity to prove a point by leading the run column at odds of 10/3  with Bet365.

England’s Top Batsman

All eyes will be on the top of the order as for the first time since 2006 Alastair Cook will not be present opening the innings. Burns has been selected to take his place alongside Keaton Jennings.  England struggles to replace their last veteran opener remain to this day therefore filling the void of losing their all-time leading run-scorer should prove a huge obstacle to overcome. Cook’s consistency over his 12-year career was taken for granted and the Three Lions will be a poorer side without his presence. Burns has been a quality player in the County Championship for Surrey, scoring 1,000 runs in each of his last five seasons.

However, the step up has been a tough test for numerous players in the county game. Burns’ Surrey colleague Mark Stoneman among many others have failed to make the grade. The 28-year-old has a lot of pedigree and does have the fortune of playing in a series that will go under-the-radar compared to matches against Australia and India. Burns has not managed to hit his stride in his warm-up matches, but he may be inspired walking out for the first time on his Test debut. Back him at odds of 11/2  with Bet365 to lead the way for England.

Sri Lanka’s Top Bowler

The great Rangana Herath will play the final Test match of his illustrious career in the opener. Herath has called time on his tenure in the game and will have one last opportunity to torment England as he has done so often in the past. The 40-year-old has been an important figure in Sri Lankan cricket as he has helped bridge the gap between Muttiah Muralitharan and the next generation of spinners. Australia have endured a dearth of quality options in their spin department since the retirement of Shane Warne.

The Baggy Greens would have loved a player of the calibre of Herath to have been available as would most every other Test nation in the world. Herath has taken 430 wickets in his 92 matches at an average of 27.95 – the most strikes by a left-arm bowler in Test match history. He ranks 10th on the all-time wicket taking list and could move up several spots into seventh with a good performance at Galle. Herath averages 24.31 with 99 wickets at the venue, back him to surpass the 100-strike mark and a few more for the Lions at odds of 12/1  with Bet365.

England’s Top Bowler

The Three Lions will need their spinners to come to the fore in Sri Lanka. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali struggled to fire in India two years ago. England have put faith in both players, although Jack Leach will also come into contention for a starting berth as Ali’s all-round ability provides flexibility. Given the uproar of his selection over the summer Rashid did not pull up trees with his performances. England went against the grain by picking the 30-year-old for their Test side even though Rashid had turned his back on red-ball cricket for his county Yorkshire.

Rashid had a couple of decent moments, although Root’s men did not need him to be at his best to win the series due to the quality of Anderson. These are the series that will define Rashid. He needs a strong outing to justify his place in the side. The Yorkshireman has had to acclimatise to conditions and he did perform well in the ODI series, but he needs to prove a point with the red ball in his hand. Expectations will be high, back him to lead the wicket column at 3/1  with Betway.

Match Verdict

Sri Lanka proved their quality on home soil with their victory over South Africa. Dinesh Chandimal’s men scored the runs with the bat and dominated with their spinners to deliver a comprehensive triumph over the Proteas.England have had endured notorious issues against spin in the sub-continent and given their inexperience at the top of the order it will leave them exposed again. Back Sri Lanka for the win at odds of 13/8  with Bet365.

Tips Summary

Sri Lanka To Beat England 1st Test
Tuesday 6th November 2018 04:00 GMT
Odds: 13/8

Dimuth Karunaratne To Be Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman
Tuesday 6th November 2018 04:00 GMT
Odds: 10/3

Rangana Herath To Be Sri Lanka’s Top Bowler
Tuesday 6th November 2018 04:00 GMT
Odds: 12/1

Rory Burns To Be England’s Top Batsman
Tuesday 6th November 2018 04:00 GMT
Odds: 11/2

Adil Rashid To Be England’s Top Bowler
Tuesday 6th November 2018 04:00 GMT
Odds: 3/1

  • cricket
  • Dinesh Chandimal
  • England
  • Joe Root
  • sri lanka

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.