With Mitchell Starc now extending his impressive form from the Tests into the ODIs, Sri Lanka have settled on a batting plan: see Starc out safely.
Starc was already miserly during the first ODI. He did not concede a boundary in his 10 overs, which cost only 32. But he was also penetrative, taking three wickets. Each of those dismissals, however, was the result of an expansive drive gone awry. Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said his team would seek to shelve the ambitious strokes against Starc, even if the pitch for the second ODI is better for batting than the previous surface.
"We have a clear plan for him - to refrain from attacking him, so that we don't give him wickets," Mathews said. "If we can score 40 or 50 runs off him, we feel that we can catch up against the other bowlers. Because he's bowling well, we should give him that respect. But at the same time we also have to put his loose balls away."
Starc became the fastest bowler to 100 ODI wickets on Sunday, but did not return the best figures of the evening. James Faulkner took 4 for 38 in his ten overs, and used slower balls to excellent effect.
"With James Faulkner, his variations were excellent on that pitch, because of how dry it was," Mathews said. "We struggled with those variations, so we'll come with a plan tomorrow."
As far as Sri Lanka's bowlers are concerned, left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan took two wickets in his debut match but, as in the Tests, proved expensive as well, giving away 33 runs in five overs. Like in the Tests, Mathews brought him on to bowl relatively late in the innings. His first over was the 25th of the chase.
"I wanted to spread the field a bit and bring Sandakan in with that protection - I didn't want to bowl him in the Powerplay. We also have Amila Aponso, who bowled brilliantly, and also Dilruwan Perera, who's very experienced in international cricket. I wanted to bring Sandakan on against guys like Matthew Wade and Faulkner, who haven't seen him much. He didn't bowl that well in the last Test, so he's a bit low on confidence. I wanted to make sure to bring him on later and give him that protection."
Sri Lanka's XI for the first ODI did not feature a specialist quick, with allrounders Thisara Perera and Mathews himself the only seam options. An injury to Nuwan Pradeep has now ruled yet another quick out of contention, but the hosts have named a batsman in Pradeep's place. Coach Graham Ford said newcomer Angelo Perera may play at some point in the series.
"The selectors felt that Angelo Perera played really well in England," Ford said. "He's a very capable player. I remember him from the first time I was involved with the team. He has a chance of playing. He had a good net today, so there's a chance that he could be considered."