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The Preview by Alex Winter
May 21, 2014
Sri Lanka will be tough to turn over
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Start time 1pm local (1200 GMT)
The World Cup preparation begins here. Certainly for England who will want to quickly establish a winning formula and regain some confidence in the 50-over game as the ODIs tick down towards Australia and New Zealand next year. Hammered in Australia over the winter, they will want to return in eight months' time having rebuilt a team to challenge.
Having found some ODIs success, certainly at home, England could look positively towards the first World Cup in familiar conditions since 2003 but the winter's upheaval has left huge holes in England's ODI side. This series begins the process of trying to find replacements for Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann. Early-season England will of course present markedly different conditions to what will be encountered at the World Cup but England do not have time on their side: every ODI must be utilised for regeneration.
But England are perhaps in better shape than it may appear in ODIs with a solid experienced core of Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, and Jos Buttler now well established. Their bowling attack though poses more cause for concern. What about the pair of James'. Is Anderson the man for Australian wickets? And is Tredwell good enough? Samit Patel's early-season form was not enough to persuade the selectors although Mick Newell gave a strong suggestion that the door is not closed.
Sri Lanka are in far better shape and have an impressive record at major tournaments behind them. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are playing on in ODIs until the World Cup, and Sangakkara will keep wicket here, which gives them two world-class players to build their side around. They have been flying in one-day cricket recently with World T20 success following an unbeaten campaign in the Asia Cup and they have seam bowlers who can thrive in English conditions.
Form guide(completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWWWW
In the spotlight
Australia went after him and James Tredwell became not nearly as tricky as he proved before he met the baggy greens. Now he faces a question mark over his ability to provide 10 solid overs and with two touring sides this summer well versed in playing spin bowling, this is a big summer for him to try and prevent England experimenting with other slow options.
Thisara Perera probably belongs the 'agricultural' bracket of batsmen but, as he showed in the T20, it can be mighty effective at giving an innings a late kick. He has the power to clear any boundary - and the ones at The Oval are long - and if he has a platform which allows him freedom he can explosive. His bowling also helps to balance Sri Lanka's line-up
Ian Bell and Alastair Cook are set to open the batting for England which leaves Michael Carberry, Joe Root and Gary Ballance competing for the No. 3 and 4 spots. England have a choice between Tim Bresnan and Chris Woakes but neither could play if Harry Gurney suitably impressed in Tuesday's T20 to earn an ODI debut.
England (possible): 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Ian Bell, 3 Michael Carberry, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Ravi Bopara 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 James Tredwell, 11 James Anderson
Sri Lanka have the handy little pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara to return, with Sangakkara set to keep wickets. That denies Dinesh Chandimal the gloves and he could make way so Lahiru Thirimanne can keep his place. They could play two spinners and try to exploit England's weakness with pace off the ball.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Kusal Perera, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Sachithra Senanayake, 9 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Lasith Malinga
Pitch and conditions
The pitch is the same as for the T20 on Tuesday. It gripped a little and could encourage Sri Lanka to play two spinners. The forecast is for some showers but generally warm and sunny.
Stats and trivia
"It does help when you've beaten a side. Certainly in our camp, you'd feel a lot better. But with a few different players coming back in you won't look too much into the Twenty20 game."
Alastair Cook is confident the T20 loss on Tuesday won't affect his side.
"We always had confidence coming from a World Cup victory. We needed that T20 win to tell ourselves that we are good enough to compete against these guys on their home soil."
Marvan Attapatu is pleased his side have got an early win under their belts.
Flow Alex Winter on Twitter @winter_cricketFeeds: Alex Winter
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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