England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Old Trafford

Teams line up for series decider

The Preview by Sahil Dutta and Liam Brickhill

July 8, 2011

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Saturday, July 9, Old Trafford
Start time 10:45am (0945 GMT)

Big Picture


Tillakaratne Dilshan heads to the nets, Headingley, June 30 2011
Tillakaratne Dilshan has had a lean series since returning from injury, but a good innings from him could yet round off Sri Lanka's tour on a triumphant note © PA Photos
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It is not often that after four desperately one-sided games you can head into a final match all square. But that's exactly how Sri Lanka and England have ended up in this curious one-day series.

Despite the agonising over personnel, balance, batting orders, and plenty else, it has been conditions that have dictated this series. Given a surface with movement for the quicks and some clouds to help - as we saw at The Oval and Trent Bridge - England can overturn most sides. When the sun comes out and a pitch stays flat, however, they can barely even compete.

Unsurprisingly England made no secret of wanting to harness home advantage but Old Trafford may not serve up what Andy Flower and Alastair Cook demand. It is the first international match at the ground since the pitch was rotated 90 degrees and what was once the best strip in the country has now lost much of its pace and bounce.

Sri Lanka would have noted with some interest that Lancashire have been playing a spin-heavy attack in Twenty20 cricket this season. If forecasts prove right and the sun shines over Manchester, the tourists must start as favourites. Though they are without Suranga Lakmal, it is their spin duo of Suraj Randiv and Jeevan Mendis who, alongside Lasith Malinga, will be their biggest theat.

In his debut series as full-time captain Cook had many doubters to win over and his riposte could not have been more emphatic than his unbeaten 75-ball 95 to seal victory at Trent Bridge. Unlike his century in a losing cause the game before this innings suggested Cook had the resources to set the pace his team needs to follow. Cook admitted he couldn't remember "hitting the ball so sweetly", but he may have been equally right if he added he'd not faced bowling as accommodating.

It was an innings and victory that helped settle the grumblings after two heavy defeats but it is only on a surface less tailor-made for their team that England's progress can be gauged. Old Trafford may not provide the track Cook wants but it will be the test he and his team needs.

Form guide (most recent first)

England WLLWL
Sri Lanka LWWLL

In the spotlight

Tillakaratne Dilshan launched his England tour with three hundreds in four games, but a fractured thumb at Lord's - courtesy Chris Tremlett - disrupted his rhythm and since returning to the side for the one-dayers he has scraped together just 13 runs in four innings. Sri Lanka have managed to do more than simply keep the series alive without his regular contributions at the top of the order, but the pressure will surely be more keenly felt in Saturday's decider and the stage could well be set for a Dilshan special.

Stuart Broad broke a four-match wicket drought with two scalps at Trent Bridge, but they were hardly prestigious wickets - Suraj Randiv gloving down the leg side and Jeevan Mendis top-edging an uppercut - and he is still struggling back to his best. He's been publicly backed by his captain, but Tim Bresnan's return from injury and England's current surfeit of talented quicks means this may well be his last chance to nail down his place ahead of India's arrival.

Team news

"I think it's important we've stayed unchanged [in the series], it shows we've got faith in our cricketers," Alastair Cook said after England's series-levelling win at Trent Bridge, but there were reports late on Friday that Stuart Broad wouldn't play due to a bruised heel. That could mean a call-up for Samit Patel and the Old Trafford wicket has been noticeably favourable to the spinners in recent domestic Twenty20 matches. Steven Finn is another option.

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

Sri Lanka may have more cause for tinkering than their hosts. They may well lose their leading wicket-taker Suranga Lakmal, who has picked up a side strain, with Dhammika Prasad and Thisara Perera the two most likely replacements. Given the conditions, Ajantha Mendis could also come into the equation. It's also quite possible that Thilina Kandamby, despite being vice-captain, could be dropped after contributing just 36 runs in his last three innings and looking unfit for the demands of limited-overs cricket. If that's the case, opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne could be in line for an international debut, and if he slots in to the opening position Dilshan will be bumped down to No. 3.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Dimuth Karunaratne, 2 Mahela Jayawardene, 3 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Dhammika Prasad, 10 Suraj Randiv, 11 Lasith Malinga.

Pitch and conditions

This will be Old Trafford's first international since the square was rotated to prevent problems caused by the setting sun in autumn as part of ambitious redevelopment plans. No relaying has taken place, the new wickets being basically made up of the old ones, and it's said to have lost a lot of the pace it used to have. Recent scores in domestic Twenty20s have been low - Derbyshire were restricted to just 81 for 8 here last week - and taking pace off the ball could be key. Manchester was dank and grey on Friday but Saturday is expected to be warmer, with sunny intervals and a high of 20.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have never lost an ODI to England at Old Trafford, winning by 23 runs in 2002 and 33 in 2006. Their only one-day defeat at the ground came against West Indies at the 1975 World Cup.

  • Alastair Cook has scored more runs than anyone else in the first four games of this series, with 267 at an average of 89, with one hundred and one fifty at a strike rate of 97.80. Not bad for a plodder.

  • Lancashire spinners Stephen Parry and Gary Keedy have taken a combined 6 for 74 in 16 overs in Lancashire's last two home Twenty20s. Lancashire have seen fit to play three frontline spinners on several occasions, with Simon Kerrigan also coming into the mix.

  • England have won 19 out of the 30 ODIs they've played at Old Trafford, but for the best part of a decade didn't find the ground to their liking. Since 2000, they've lost five of the nine games they've played there, with one match abandoned, but prevailed in two tight games against India and Australia in the last two ODIs in 2007 and 2010.

    Quotes

    "We've got a final. We fought back well at Trent Bridge and I'm excited to be able to beat Sri Lanka over a five-match series."
    Alastair Cook is keen to seize his chance for a second series win as England one-day captain

Sahil Dutta and Liam Brickhill are assistant editors at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by -Aila- on (July 9, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

so people still think England can't compete in unfamiliar conditions and Anderson not able to bowl when there is no swing? ;) I'm glad England proved today that I was right. Because it's true. I was at Old Trafford today and the sun was seriously beating down. And there was nothing in the pitch for the seamers. Yet England completed the job

Posted by   on (July 9, 2011, 9:33 GMT)

English has the higher chances to win the game.If the pitch and condition would be same as trent bridge sri lanka will be in a big trouble.Congratulation...............................................eNG

Posted by Roar911 on (July 9, 2011, 8:35 GMT)

wish we could exchange a wicket keeper for a fast bowler with pakistan! :)

Posted by Sakthiivel on (July 9, 2011, 8:18 GMT)

Go England go!! Send the Visitors home with empty hands as usual .,

Posted by   on (July 9, 2011, 8:16 GMT)

Go Lanka Go. Its the best chance keeping in mind the conditions will suit them better than thay are for England.

Posted by yorkslanka on (July 9, 2011, 8:05 GMT)

@ landl~ ps apologies for the term "silly" about your comments in my last post, that was not the correct word to use by me, i welcome a healthy debate but do not wish to insult and no offence was intended my friend...

Posted by yorkslanka on (July 9, 2011, 8:02 GMT)

@landl, of course Sri Lanka's batting was bad in those matches you mention, otherwise we wouldn't have lost?you are trying to compare apples and oranges my friend, you cant compare results unless they are played on the same wicket..hope we play ajantha mendis today as i have been to old trafford twice in the last two months and in both matches, both teams opened with spinners and they did really well...for me, Kandamby must be dropped with karunaratne opening with dilshan and mahela back to three where he will be when our regular opener is back...come on Sri Lanka....

Posted by Mindmeld on (July 9, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

Re. Anderson, @Aila, I think you'll find that the last Ashes series featured the wettest conditions on record, played in the wettest summer in 100 years in Australia. He was part of a team that bowled first on green wickets in 4/5 tests. In the only test where he had to bowl second, Australia took a 200 run lead on the first innings. Make no mistake, conditions played a huge part in Anderson's Ashes performance, and thus England's. By the time of the one day series which Australia won 6-1, the rain had pretty much stopped, and pitches were flatter and dryer, as is normal for one dayers in most countries. But more to the point, the AIR was dryer by that point, so much less swing. I think there are still legitimate questions about Anderson's ability to bowl in dry, flat conditions. He's not really very fast, and relies greatly on movement. No doubt though that he's a force to be reckoned with on a wet day.

Posted by yasas_srilankaforever on (July 9, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

My XI for Sri Lanka

1. dimuth karunaratne 2. mahela 3. dilly 4. chandi/sanga 5. sanga/chandi 6. angi 7. jeevan 8. perera 9. randiv 10. malinga 11. prasad

Posted by   on (July 9, 2011, 6:12 GMT)

hope lots from mahela .... whoaaaa!!!!!

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Sahil DuttaClose
Sahil Dutta Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.
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