England v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Lord's May 30, 2014

Sun could shine on Sri Lanka at Lord's


Play 01:42
England favourites but series unpredictable

Match facts

Saturday, May 31, 2014
Start time 1030 local (0930 GMT)

Big Picture

Eighty-one runs was the difference between the teams in the first match of the series. The margins have expanded alarmingly since, to 157 runs, then 10 wickets and 227 balls. They might not be numbers that suggest a compelling series, but Sri Lanka's tilt at England has held interest, if only because of the unpredictability of the results.

Sri Lanka arrived favourites at the first match, on the back of a T20 international win and an unbeaten 2014 in ODIs, then faltered dramatically. England appeared to hold the aces at an overcast Chester-le-Street, but were shot out for 99. Then the hosts outskittled the skittlers at Old Trafford, to almost everyone's surprise. Even the weather forecasts have been way off base, with heavy rains failing to materialise in the second and third matches. Conditions have been no indicator of results. Sri Lanka have at various times seemed well-adjusted and at sea in the cold and the damp.

Lord's is expected to be rain-free and somewhat less chilly on Saturday, with temperatures expected to peak in the high teens. Sri Lanka appear to be the more vulnerable side at present, but they have traditionally done well at the venue, and when the sun shines. These are all just facts. They may not mean a thing.

One trend that will have been pored over by analyst and coaches in the Sri Lanka camp, is their batsmen's frailty against Chris Jordan's hit-the-deck pace. Jordan has not relied on great movement nor even a tight line and length. He has instead created trouble by generating good lift, and by having batsmen play too early or too late. His ambling approach to the crease explodes abruptly into an energetic delivery swing, and though many bowling coaches will see this as a flaw needing correction, it appears his pace has not been easy for Sri Lanka batsmen to judge.

If Sri Lanka fail at Lord's, they will have comfortably lost a series. It will mark the end of their remarkable 2014 run. England, meanwhile, will hope it begins their resurgence.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
England: WLWWW
Sri Lanka: LWLWW

In the spotlight

Jordan may be taking most wickets, but there is no doubting the influence James Anderson's pinpoint opening spell exerted on the last match, when he claimed both openers and conceded only 10 runs from his seven overs. Skilful, probing and relentless, he is exactly the kind of fast bowler Sri Lanka's batsmen don't like. They failed in their plan to play him out safely in Manchester, and even if they alter their outlook for Lord's, Anderson is not an easy bowler to gain control of.

Mahela Jayawardene was among those who attempted to bat slow and long in Manchester, but he changed so much about his normally free-flowing game, he tangled himself up against an innocuous James Tredwell offbreak. Tough situations often coax him to his best, and as he has set the 2015 World Cup as a target, a regular flow of good scores will serve his confidence well.

Teams news

England will have learned little about their batsmen from the brief Manchester chase and will likely be unchanged.

England (probable): 1 Alastair Cook (capt.), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Gary Ballance, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Joe Root, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Chris Jordan, 9 James Tredwell, 10 James Anderson, 11 Harry Gurney

Angelo Mathews suggested Lahiru Thirimanne will be given a longer run at opener after the last match, but they may be tempted to bring in Kusal Perera into the side, displacing Thirimanne down the order. The visitors will hope to play two spinners, but have Thisara Perera in reserve if the conditions are more suited to quick bowling.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene 5. Dinesh Chandimal, 6. Angelo Mathews (capt.), 7. Ashan Priyanjan, 8. Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Rangana Herath/Thisara Perera, 11. Lasith Malinga

Pitch and conditions

The recent T20 double header saw the wicket go very slow for the second 40 overs and several Championship matches have seen some low first-innings totals but Lord's wickets for internationals are generally excellent. The weather forecast is dry.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka rode a Dinesh Chandimal century to victory in their most recent ODI at Lord's in 2011, which was Chandimal's last ODI hundred.
  • Alastair Cook needs 90 to move to 3000 career ODI runs. Ian Bell is the highest run-getter in the team with 4788 runs.
  • Lasith Malinga has the worst figures of any bowler who has delivered more than 10 overs in the series. He has taken one wicket at an average of 101. His economy rate is 6.73.


"Sometimes you can get on one of those roles on a wicket where you lose two or three quickly and it's difficult to turn the tide. That's probably been the case in the last two games."
James Tredwell identifies the cause of both team's collapses in this series.

"We had a bad day, we are looking forward to Lord's. The boys are practising hard. We just want to forget what happened in the last match."
The Old Trafford collapse is quickly behind Sri Lanka according to Lahiru Thirimanne

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohamed on May 31, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    Good Luck SL play with full confident you will get good result try with Kusal as a opener

  • John on May 31, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    @ Lanka Manjula on (May 30, 2014, 17:21 GMT) It's great to have such broad minded comments on here.Well done

  • Leo on May 31, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    Some crazy suggestions about dropping Sanga and Mahela. Please understand that in England one day cricket is played at test match pace. You cannot have Kusal or Thissara or the Priyanjans battling seaming swinging balls at 86 MPH, leaping up at your throat. Did you watch Jimmy Anderson's seven overs for 10 runs. That's test cricket stuff. Only Mahela managed to play him with any confidence. All the others failed. Who won the T20 world cup for us ? A completely out of form Sanga. Champions are born champions. You cannot create them.You are either a genius or nothing. We have two such players. Lets respect them.

  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    guess this will be anther failure for us if the same failing players like chandimal are forever in the team without being dropped..

  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    If any one reading the comments from beginning, except Methew, Malinga, Kula and Saci all others are criticized and want to kept out so each have there different thought but all can't be represent in a single game. There can be failures in resent past but we have to look forward for 2015WC. Are we going with mix bunch of Seniors and Juniors? or young inexperience bunch of crickets in which most of them have just started their carrier??? especially batting unit? if we drop the seniors just imagine the batting unit which will face the 2015WC? How many of them would have played in NZ&Aus?

  • Lasantha on May 31, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    @ Compton-Effect. Yes, you have a point. I'm not going to deny that. But we have to select players within the given squad and therefore we have to take in to account that who is better for the right situation. We all know that Kusal has some similarities with SJ and even great player like him had a bad start to his international carrier. Luckily on those days selectors kept their faith on him and eventually he became a world class cricketer. I specially mentioned Kusal because he has this so called xfactor in batsmen ship and at least they have to try him for the next two remaining matches. Thanks for expressing your view.

  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    all are talking about chandimal & thirmanne. So what about mahela & sanga? At-least they didn't give any chances to younger players.. they always bat at no.03 & no.04. When they got out youngsters have only 15 or 10 overs. If we need to win 2015 world cup we should have to build a good team. can't depend only on Dilshan , Mahela & Sanga.

  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    If Sri Lanka is looking for a great future in Cricket, then they have to give Chandimal either opener instead of Dilshan( one of the seniors in team ) or 1 down position instead of Sangakkara ( one of the seniors in team )

  • Android on May 31, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    I think kusal should come back to the 11 and opening with dilshan.because he can give some awesome start to the srilankan inning

  • Amila on May 31, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    Everyone is talking about failures of Thirimanna, Chandimal, Kusal etc. What was the contribution of Mahela and Sanga ? Mahela is a total failure. Half of the team deserved to be dropped but selectors scared to take decisions that would make issues after issues and media will having a good time too. But the sake of SL teams future selectors must act immediately. Its too early to call some of the players should be in the team likes of Vithanage, Kausal Silva etc but without giving them a chance no way of knowing rather than persist with failures in the with the sake of their big names. Its high time SL to try out Kausal silva, Dikwella, Tharindu Kausal, Charith Jayampathi, even Binura Fernando.

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