England v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Lord's July 2, 2011

England eye quick recovery


Match facts

Sunday, July 3, Lord's
Start time 1045am (0945 GMT)

Big Picture

It has taken just two matches for Alastair Cook to experience the full spectrum of emotions England one-day captains are routinely subjected to. A near-perfect performance at The Oval was followed by a shoddy one at Headingley, where Sri Lanka outgunned the home side in every department. It seems difficult to remember - especially after their World Cup showing - that England were actually making significant progress as an ODI side last year. After their Champions Trophy eureka-moment in autumn 2009, when they decided to shelve the caution that left them out of step with the modern game, they won five series in a row.

Though Cook is looking for a similar consistency, the brazen approach that underpinned England's success then won't always deliver. At The Oval, once rain reduced the game to 32-overs a side, England happily blazed away to good effect. Set 310 at Headingley they again had little choice but to attack, but the approach was much less successful as the heart of the top order - Craig Kieswetter, Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan - was dismissed looking for boundaries. Yet keeping the faith in the 'fearless cricket' that all the players promise is England's best hope of building on last year's progress.

Sri Lanka have no such worries. As a limited-overs side they are completely clear on how to approach both setting and chasing totals. They possess two of the classiest batsmen in the world in Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara as well as two fine strokemakers in Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews. Conditions at Headingley suited them perfectly (as those at The Oval did England) and their batsmen left England's bowlers looking toothless before their spin attack left England's batsmen looking clueless.

The two one-sided matches have meant that, in keeping with the stuttering international summer, the series is yet to kick into life. Lord's is the ideal setting to change that. The weather is set fair, the pitch will be flat and a sellout crowd will lend an atmosphere that the series has lacked so far. Sri Lanka have little reason to deviate from the team that brought the 69-run Headingley win but England will be tempted to make changes. Graeme Swann was their best bowler in the last game and Cook may want a second slow-bowling option in Samit Patel. Jonathan Trott came in for familiar criticism for clogging up the middle overs with dot balls but, despite his 39 from 54, his record - averaging 53.68 from 27 games - is outstanding.

Form guide (most recent first)

England LWLWL
Sri Lanka WLLWW

The spotlight

There are plenty of wise judges who don't see Alastair Cook as the long-term answer to England's one-day captaincy. Yet his record in charge suggests he can meet this challenge like he has all others in his career so far. In the five matches he's led the side he's made 209 runs at 41.80 striking, crucially, at 92 runs per 100 balls. That's a major step up from a record of 30.52 at 68 when back in the ranks. Lord's is a favourite venue for Cook in Tests and if he can transfer that success into the 50-over format England will have a much better hope of victory.

For most of this summer Sri Lanka have been without one of their brightest talents. Angelo Mathews missed the Test series recovering from a leg injury but returned for the Twenty20 in Bristol. It was at Headingley, though, where Sri Lanka fans were shown just what they missed. His 30-ball 46 helped Sri Lanka ambush 97 runs from their final 10 overs and left England needing to surpass their highest-ever successful run-chase to win the game. As promising, was the first sign of his bowling, which, however ginger, was the first time he'd bowled since the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in March.

Team news

England's line-up looks top-heavy with orthodox top-order batsmen so to squeeze a second spinner - in Samit Patel - into the side may demand a difficult decision to drop one of the big guns. However, Stuart Broad's ropey form can only be tolerated for so long and Cook may feel better off without him.

England (probable) 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alastair Cook (capt), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ian Bell/Samit Patel, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Stuart Broad/Samit Patel, 10 James Anderson, 11 Jade Dernbach.

Sri Lanka are likely to stick with the combination that brought them victory, though - after not bowling or batting at Headingley - quite what vice-captain Thilina Kandamby's role is exactly is not clear.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt) 2 Mahela Jayawardene, 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Thilina Kandamby, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Nuwan Kulasekera, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Suraj Randiv, 11 Lasith Malinga.

Pitch and conditions

The weather has been the overriding factor all summer. Thankfully Lord's is set to look a picture with sunshine forecast for the whole day. The Test pitch earlier this summer held no terrors for the batsmen and while that made for an anodyne contest, a similar surface would suit the one-day format much better.

Stats and trivia

  • From the four ODIs these sides have played at Lord's, the spoils are shared two each

  • Mahela Jayawardene needs 93 more runs to surpass Sanath Jayasuriya as the all-time highest Sri Lanka runscorer against England in ODI cricket

  • Kevin Pietersen is still waiting for his first ODI hundred since November 2008, but his record at Lord's - with one fifty and an average of 24.75 from nine matches - suggests he'll be waiting a little longer

    Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    I miss the jokes of sehwagologist and khildasher. where are they?

  • Lakshan on July 3, 2011, 9:09 GMT


  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2011, 9:08 GMT

    Adil Rashid is the answer to the balance of the team. Patel not good enough at either discipline. Broad needs some time in county cricket to get some confidence back. Bell should open. I'd go for Cook, Bell, Trott, KP, Morgan, Kieswetter, Bresnan, Rashid, Swann, Shahzad, Anderson at the moment, with bopara, finn, woakes, taylor, stokes waiting in the wings. We have a lot of potential, just got to harness it...

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    It's important that dili must get among the runs. U can't always hope mahela 2 get 100s. sanga needs to convert 50s & 60s in to a 100.

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    Regarding Kandamby, he is a good batsman but with a limited array of strokes as I have noticed watching him play on TV and as a spectator. His minus points are slow mover in the field, liable to run himself out and liable to run his partner out. One cannot judge a middle order batsman purely based on his average particularly in top order heavy Sri Lankan set-up. Therefore, Kandamby cannot be compared with other alternative choices for a middle order berth especially since he has played in only 35 ODIs. He could be blocking a place due to a more talented agile player. If he continues to be in the team simply because of being vice captain, I do not think he will survive for long.

  • Ranga on July 3, 2011, 8:50 GMT

    Saw lot of comments bashing Kandambi....Even I dnt like Kandambi being in the 11...But I dnt doubt his talent and ability....He'll be an excellent No:5 for SL in Tests once Thilan goes....if Kandambi to play ODI he should play No:3 or 4....Unfortunately Sanga and Mahela holds those and when Mahela opens Chandimal is a better option because he'd be our future WK he's an aggressive player who can hit 6's at will when he's in and he's still 23 or so....Im an Anandian too but I dont understand the logic of this Anandian, Kandambi, playing in the unit....If he's there for a collapse that's ridiculous...U dnt chose teams hoping they'll fail...If Dilshan, Sanga, Mahela trigger collapses more than 50% the answer would be not to get a batter to stop that...get a top order which wont collapse on regular basis...SL top order is full of class and hence Kandambi's role is wasted...quite a talent but wasted in the set up...thats what im saying....

  • Dilsanda on July 3, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    After Tharanga Comes back, he should open & MJ Should bat @3. Sanga should bat @ 5 because he can adjust according to any situation unlike Kandamby, so that Chandimal could bat @ 4. Mathews @ 6 & Jeewan @ 7 will provide proper balance. It is really important that selectors must not forget the service made by Upul Tharanga as a opener, which really helped us to qualify for the Final of the World Cup. Dimuth could be used more as a Test Player & his time will definetely come when the seniors retire in 2/3 years time in One-dayers as well. I feel Bhanuka could be considered for Shorter formats to be in the squad to gain valuable experience.

  • chamod on July 3, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    troot keeps getting dot balls next to his name and puts pressure on the other batman which causes them to get out. No point having average like that with such a one paced style of batting.

  • dhairya on July 3, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    kp at number three and trott to 4, may provide aggressive start and later stability

  • sandun on July 3, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    no wonder, a comprehensive win for sl

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