Jason Roy in line to return on home ground as SL eye first win of tour
Following a sixth defeat from seven, Sri Lanka are rooted to the bottom of the World Cup Super League and already looked destined to having to scrap it out at the 2022 qualifier against a clutch of highly motivated Associate nations. In that sense, while losing the services of three senior players for an unsanctioned trip into Durham certainly won’t help their chances in England, it might help Perera and Mickey Arthur forge a spirit of common purpose that will benefit the team in the long run.
The batting was scratchier, with Root’s cool head required to see England home – and even he gave a half-chance to long leg, which Chameera couldn’t cling on to, when the game was in the balance. Eoin Morgan is rarely one to fret about his own form, but extending a run of England white-ball innings without a significant score to 15 counts as a minor headache for the captain.
The bigger picture for England’s limited-overs cricket looks impressive, as it has for a while – even if they will currently struggle to knock the footballers off the back pages. But work remains to be done on improving the game’s reach, and this Oval match is being branded as the ACE ODI, in recognition of the Afro-Caribbean Engagement Programme, which began at Surrey, opening a third centre in Bristol.
(completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWLLL
In the spotlight
Pitch and conditions
The Oval tends to serve up excellent (read: batting-friendly) ODI surfaces, with only Trent Bridge producing a higher average and scoring rate among English grounds over the last five years. The forecast is set fair for this day-night game, and the ball is only likely to travel further under lights – all four completed Blast matches at the ground this season being won by the chasing side.
England: (possible) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Sam Billings, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Chris Woakes/Tom Curran, 9 David Willey, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood
Sri Lanka fielded three debutants at Chester-le-Street, who collectively made six runs and bowled three overs – but they may have to rely on the likes of Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya Lakshan and Praveen Jayawickrama again, with Oshada Fernando still unwell and Dhananjaya de Silva facing a late fitness test after a back spasm. Dhananjaya’s availability would at least add some experience to the line-up, and allow allrounders Dasun Shanaka and Hasaranga to step down a run after being (over)promoted to the heady heights of Nos. 4 and 5.
Sri Lanka: (possible) 1 Kusal Perera (capt, wk), 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Dhananjaya de Silva, 5 Dasun Shanaka, 6 Wanindu Hasaranga, 7 Dhananjaya Lakshan, 8 Ramesh Mendis, 9 Chamika Karunaratne, 10 Binura Fernando, 11 Dushmantha Chameera
Stats and trivia
“Obviously we should always go on and chase that score, but if you keep losing wickets it becomes difficult. Joe’s innings was a very calming influence as usual, to go on and knock that total off as easily as he did.”
Chris Woakes presented Root with his 150th ODI cap and was also handing out praise afterwards
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick