England will be looking to wrap up the ODI series with a win against Sri Lanka at the Oval on Wednesday evening.
An English win, a thrilling tie and a disappointing no result – the ODI leg of Sri Lanka’s tour of England certainly has had its fair share of thrills and spills. The teams will now have three days to recuperate and regroup before they lock horns once against, this time at The Oval.
Can the English get the win they need to secure the ODI leg of the series or can Angelo Matthews and his side keep their hopes of a series win alive? Let’s take a look!
England vs Sri Lanka | Wednesday 29 June 2016 | The Oval, London | 13:00
To Win Match
England 2/9 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 3/1 *Expected odds
The English will be quietly confident heading into the fourth and penultimate ODI against their Sri Lankan counterparts. They’ve got one of the most belligerent opening partnerships in world cricket at the moment in Alex Hales and Jason Roy. As much was evident as the two single-handedly chased down Sri Lanka’s 254 in the second ODI at Edgbaston.
The duo have seen their stock rise significantly over the last year or so as they continue with their performance against South Africa in the World T20 catapulting them to the very forefront of the global cricketing conscience. Both of them have seen their averages rise steadily of late with Hales even nailing down a regular place in the Test side. The two will no doubt look to take the attack to a massively depleted Sri Lankan bowling attack.
Another thing to remember about this English side is that they bat deep, incredibly deep actually. Any team that can boast Adil Rashid coming in at 11 will worry opposition coaches and players. Chris Woakes – England’s number eight – came in and smashed his way to a 92-ball 95 in the first encounter of the series to tie the game.
It’s not just England’s tail-less batting line-up that the Sri Lankans will need to be weary of, the English bowlers have – the seamers in particular – have done a sterling job thus far in conditions where batsmen should be plastering them to all parts. Liam Plunkett, Woakes and David Willey currently lead the wicket-taking stakes in the series have bagged 16 between them – seven more than the entire Sri Lankan team have managed in the limited overs leg of the tour so far.
Plunkett, in particular, has been brilliant. The 6ft 3 Yorkshireman has a habit of striking early in his spells, often removing set batsmen in the process. His powerful action and blistering pace coupled with his ability to deliver – on occasion – the unplayable Mitchell Johnson / Morne Morkel short delivery make him a valuable weapon in Eoin Morgan’s seemingly bottomless pit of bowling talent within the starting XI.
The equation is simple enough for the Islanders: win this game or lose any hope you had of winning the ODI segment of the tour. Although they find themselves in such a precarious position, they can be happy with the way they’ve played in the limited overs segment of the tour as well as the third and final Test.
They head into this game knowing that the English press, as well as the cricket fraternity at large, had largely written them off before they even boarded the plane in Colombo. Solid batting performances from Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Matthews and Upal Tharanga propelled the Islanders to a score of 248-9 in the third ODI before rain in Bristol put a halt on the day’s proceedings.
What will be worrying for the Sri Lankans, however, will be the lack of form of the two openers, Kusal Perera and Danushka Gunathilaka. The two have only managed 102 runs between them in the first three games. Their returns will have to increase drastically if they want to lay the sort of platform that the middle and lower order can build on toward the end of the innings.
Looking ahead, if the Sri Lankans are to keep the series alive with a win, they’ll need a monumental performance from their bowlers who have so far struggled to take wickets thus far, as highlighted by the second ODI where Roy and Hales knocked off the Islanders’ total with minimal fuss. Whether or not they’ll be able to trouble the English top order on a fairly benign Oval deck remains to be seen.
Verdict: England 2/9
The English are just far too strong for the Sri Lankans – especially in these sort of conditions. The English are confidently tipped to wrap the series up in front of a packed Kia Oval on Wednesday evening.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.