England chase response to Durham drubbing
Wednesday, May 28
Start time 1400 local (1300 GMT)
Peter Moores' honeymoon period lasted all of one match and after Sunday's inexplicable annihilation at Chester-le-Street, England are back to square one in their quest to win back hearts and minds of the British public. Being slaughtered on a torrid tour in Australia or in alien conditions in Asia can be explained away but the Durham drubbing was a case of seeing is believing for England supporters.
There was no Johnson, no Ajmal, no other mystical beast of terror, England were simply done at their own game and the criticisms of the winter returned, perhaps most concerning that of bowling too short. Nuwan Kulasekara utilised conditions far better than James Anderson - the player brought back to England's ODI team to swing the new ball and take wickets with all the cards in his favour. Anderson needs a response on his home ground.
But of course it was England's batting, losing all 10 for just 80, that shocked most as no answer was found to the high-class swing bowling of Kulasekara, who removed the top three. England need to prove it was just an aberration. And they should be confident in doing so after a smart showing in the first rubber at The Oval, where Malinga and co. were easily dealt with, save Sachithra Senanayake, in a performance that was supposed to point the way to the future.
Sri Lanka will be delighted with their retort to defeat, their first in 11 matches. As a complete one-day unit they are in far better shape than England and at Durham proved that they can play in English conditions. The batting effort should be a fillip for the rest of the tour; they built a solid total without major contributions from Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela Jayawardene. Tillakaratne Dilshan showed the responsibility the twilight of his career must provide and Ashan Priyanjan's late burst perhaps showed what lies ahead.
England: LWWWW (last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WLWWW
In the spotlight
The boy wonder, Joe Root, has seen his stock fall since last summer. Dropped for the final Ashes Test, he has managed one century and one fifty in his last 16 ODI innings, while a broken thumb ruled him out of the World T20. A shift at the top of the order could leave Root vulnerable at No. 4 and he needs runs to convince he is worth his place.
Vice-captain he may be but Lahiru Thirimanne must be under pressure after two failures against the new ball, with both dismissals to Anderson. You can tack on a single-figure score in Dublin to that run too. Thirimanne needs a score to ensure he keeps Kusal Perera out of the side or doesn't end up being relegated down the order.
There is a good chance Alastair Cook will be fit enough to return, so Michael Carberry is likely to make way. England could bring in Alex Hales to partner Cook and move Ian Bell to No. 3, which could see Gary Ballance moved to No. 4 and Root dropped.
England (probable): 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Gary Ballance, 4 Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Chris Jordan, 9 James Tredwell, 10 James Anderson, 11 Harry Gurney
Sri Lanka's success with the swinging ball and bowler-friendly conditions likely at Old Trafford should see them retain the same attack. They could change the top order to take Thirimanne out of the firing line and bring in Kusal. Rangana Herath has arrived and is available for selection.
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Dhammika Prasad
Pitch and conditions
Old Trafford has produced a quick wicket for the last two ODIs - last September's fixture against Australia proved the beginning of Mitchell Johnson's comeback. The weather forecast is no good with plenty of rain expected.
Stats and trivia
- The fixture between these sides at Old Trafford in 2011 produced an exciting match which England edged by 16 runs. Of England's attack that day, only James Anderson and Tim Bresnan are in the current squad.
- Sri Lanka have only played five ODIs at Old Trafford, including beating India at the 1979 World Cup. They have beaten England twice here, in 2002 and 2006.
- England had a miserable record in ODIs at Old Trafford at the turn of the century, losing five straight completed matches from 2001 to 2006. They bounced back to win four on the spin until losing to Australia last September.
"Certainly from a bowling unit point of view there's some new guys there that i'm getting used to playing with and talking to. It's quite exciting."
James Anderson is encouraged by England's new attack.
"We played some positive cricket, and I personally believe that is the way to go against the English team."
Angelo Mathews identifies the game plan.
Follow Alex Winter on Twitter @winter_cricket© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.