Rain Looms as Threat as Sri Lanka and England Line Up For Second Skirmish of Series
The first One-Day International between England and Sri Lanka in Dambulla on Wednesday was abandoned with constant rain allowing only 15 overs of play. At anywhere between 65 to 95 per cent chances of rain is forecast in Dambulla for Saturday, the second ODI looks like going down the same road as well.
However, there is a reserve day kept for Sunday, unlike the first game, but the players, officials and fans alike will be hoping to see some sort of action on Saturday.
The first ODI didn't give much chance for any of the two sides to analyse much. Sri Lanka, after a poor show at the 2018 Asia Cup, would have harboured hopes of a strong comeback at home. Lasith Malinga did not have the best of starts, going for 35 runs in five overs while Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Pradeep picked up a wicket each.
England gave a good account of themselves though. Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy started off the innings in their usual belligerent self, while Eoin Morgan and Joe Root did a good job managing the middle-overs before rain came down.
If we do get some action on Saturday, Sri Lanka will be keen to get their batting in order. They have a new captain in Dinesh Chandimal and he will be the most important cog in the Sri Lankan unit who are without the services of Angelo Mathews. Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva will all be expected to rally around their captain.
Spin, as usual, will be a key component with Dananjaya, Amila Aponso and Lakshan Sandakan again expected to handle bulk of the workload.
England, on the other hand, look a much settled unit. They have a firing top order, with the likes of Bairstow, Roy and Root in form while Morgan and Ben Stokes will provide the middle-order stability. The bowling unit as well looks largely sorted with Chris Woakes leading the pace attack while Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will share the spin duties.
England are the No. 1 bowling side in the world in ODIs and they will expect themselves to play in the same way, if the weather in Dambulla permits. The team winning the toss will be keen on fielding first considering there is plenty of rain around.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), 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 (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett (last two games only), Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.