By Jake Goodwill
- England face Sri Lanka in a five match ODI series
- Eoin Morgan’s side go in to the series as favourites
- Sri Lanka will be looking for their first victory against England of the summer
After a dominant performance in the Test arena England face Sri Lanka in a One Day International Series. The travelling Sri Lankans will be more competitive in the white ball format and are renowned for their prowess in limited overs cricket. However the improvement seen in one day cricket under Trevor Bayliss means that England remain firm favourites to win the series.
England now possess one of the most dynamic and explosive batting line-ups in world cricket. The settled top four of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan gives the home side power and class at the top of the order. This is likely to be complimented with either Hampshire skipper James Vince or, most probably, player of the Test series Jonny Bairstow alongside the world class Jos Buttler who will keep wicket.
This gives England’s top six a great array of talent, dynamism and variation that is required to score big runs in ODI cricket. The considerable batting talents of Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and David Willey, to name just four lower order options, gives England’s batting line up real depth which will allow the top six to the play with the aggression that this new England side desire.
The absence of Ben Stokes through injury is a potential weakness to the side as the all-rounder allows England to have six genuine bowling options without weakening the batting order. However this provides an opportunity for Woakes and Jordan to show they can perform an all-rounder role at the highest level.
As for the bowling department England are less settled but possess Willey who is masterful with the new ball as well as Jordan who, after a stint in the IPL, has honed his skills as a specialist death bowler. The pace and bounce of a Steven Finn or a Liam Plunkett gives captain Morgan great variety in his seam attack. However, although this attack has promise, it undoubtedly has the potential to leak runs if Sri Lanka are having a good day. Adil Rashid will be looking to have a strong series as his form has dipped slightly since he returned to the team as a revelation against New Zealand in 2015. He will be supported by Ali in the spin department.
As for Sri Lanka, they will be disappointed with how the Test Series went but the second half of the match at Durham and the draw at Lords, albeit weather assisted, will give the touring side some confidence. They have beaten Ireland comfortably in both warm matches for the ODI series and will be eager to stamp their mark on the tour.
Sri Lanka won the ODI series 2014 in a controversial 3-2 series win. However this side is missing the stars who were vital in that series. That being said a number of quality players remain.
As shown by the Test Series the form of Angelo Matthews and Dinesh Chandimal is crucial if Sri Lanka are going to post or chase competitive totals. Opener Kusal Perera is a dangerous player at the top of the order whose aggressive intent can put opposition teams on the back foot from the start. Kusal Mendis has had a promising tour in all formats so far and it will be interesting to see how the supremely talented 21 year old adapts to the requirements of One Day cricket.
The Sri Lankan pace attack has been decimated with Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera ruled out through injury. This week Shaminda Eranga has been hospitalised with an irregular heart beat and also banned by the ICC for having an illegal action. This has left Sri Lankan seam options slightly thin on the ground. This leaves a lot of responsibility to Nuwan Pradeep and especially Suranga Lakmal alongside promising all-rounder Dasun Shanaka. However the lack of depth that Sri Lanka have in this area coupled with England’s destructive batting line-up means it will be an uphill battle for the tourists.
Leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna is likely to lead the spin attack with Suraj Randiv another option if two spinners are chosen to be employed. England will see these spin options as an opportunity to attack in the middle overs due to the relative quality and experience of the spinners and seamers that Sri Lanka possess.
England are a much improved limited overs unit and in home conditions it is hard to see anything but a Series win for England. The power of England’s batting should allow them to rack up some big scores and Willey will be a potent weapon with the new ball. That being said Sri Lanka are a dangerous opponent and will win at least one match.
England to win