Dambulla: The Asian Islanders are set to take on the world number one ODI side, England in the opening fixture of five-match ODI series at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla on Tuesday, October 10.
England have won their last eight bilateral ODI series, including whitewashing Australia on the back of some record-breaking batting before coming from behind to beat India 2-1 most recently. Joe Root hit back-to-back unbeaten centuries to lead England to victory in the last two ODIs against India.
They did lose a one-off match against Scotland in between, but that has been a rare blip in a stunning run of form and one may expect them to start as favourites.
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan proved their form in the first warm-up match. Both hit unbeaten 90s to lead England to an eight-wicket win against the Sri Lanka Board XI.
England will also bank on the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, who have been in stunning form in recent times, to provide them with a quick start at the top. Bairstow has hit 615 runs in his last ten ODI innings while Roy averages 52 in his last eight games, during which he has scored 416 runs.
England’s spin duo Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid will be key in Sri Lankan conditions. Ali took three wickets in the warm-up game and has 15 scalps in his last ten ODIs. Rashid has been their main spinner.
The Sri Lankan will aim for a fresh start after their disappointing show at Asia Cup 2018, where they lost both the group matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan by big margins.
Upul Tharanga has scored the most runs for the team in ODIs from this current squad and is leading the chart with 6936 runs. Kusal Perera was amongst the leading run-getters in the previous home series against South Africa with 179 runs. These two along with Niroshan Dickwella need to shoulder the responsibility of propelling the team towards a competitive total.
Thisara Perera has done a decent job for Sri Lanka in ODIs and has taken 19 wickets in last ten ODIs including 5/55 against Afghanistan. He is expected to cause problems for England in home conditions
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (Capt. and wk), Upul Tharanga, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Kusal Perera
England: Eoin Morgan (Capt.), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Pitch and conditions
It has been a rainy few days in Dambulla and the forecast for Wednesday doesn't look too bright either. The skies will be cloudy for most parts and there are likely to be a few showers.
Stats and trivia
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Start time: 14:30 local (09:00 GMT)