Buoyant Sri Lanka aim to make short work of England once more

Saturday, 27 October 2018 01:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


ESPNCricinfo: Following an ODI series in which all five matches were affected by the rain, Sri Lanka and England will now attempt to squeeze in a one-off T20 that could be more splash than thrash. 

By the time the rain came hammering down in Colombo on Tuesday, England had suffered a painful-looking belly-flop to end their winning run; Sri Lanka will be hoping it is them handing out the towellings from here on in, with three Tests to follow next month.

Given that the third ODI in Pallekele was a 21-over affair, things might not be greatly different now the teams are officially playing T20. England have taken to opening with Jos Buttler (where he averages 62.75, at a strike rate of 158.86, from five innings) and have added yorker specialist Chris Jordan to their party; there might not be room for Joe Root, and Joe Denly could complete a remarkably long-and-winding return to England colours, but otherwise the line-up will be pretty familiar.

Sri Lanka will be led by Thisara Perera in this format, while Lasith Malinga could win his first T20I cap in over a year following a successful return in the ODIs. Perhaps the most interesting name in their squad is that of batting allrounder (and ambidextrous bowler) Kamindu Mendis. A former U-19s captain, and one among a crop of young players trying to perfect the skill of bowling with both arms, Mendis played against England in one of their warm-up games and could make his full international debut.

With the next men’s World T20 still more than two years away, there may not be many significant lessons to learn – but both teams, and an expected full house at the R Premadasa Stadium, will be hoping the weather doesn’t spoil their fun.

Team news

Kusal Perera has not recovered from the quad strain he sustained during the second ODI, so Sadeera Samarawickrama has been added to the squad and will likely come into the XI. Mendis has won his first senior call-up for Sri Lanka at 20, and he could compete with Dhananjaya de Silva for a spot.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 2 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Dasun Shanaka, 7 Thisara Perera (capt.), 8 Isuru Udana, 9 Akila Dananjaya, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Dushmantha Chameera

England have flown in Jordan but will otherwise pick from the same squad as for the ODIs. Several players missed training on Friday, however, including Joe Root, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone. Denly looks set to come in for his first England cap in over eight years, though he is unlikely to be given the top-order berth he occupies for Kent.

England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Alex Hales, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Joe Denly, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Tom Curran

Pitch and conditions

The Premadasa was flat and full of runs for Tuesday’s ODI (during the Sri Lanka innings, at least) and they will be using a fresh surface - although that doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of spin. 

However, the weather once again looms as a major obstacle, with showers and thunderstorms likely to arrive over Colombo during the late afternoon/evening.