clipped off the pads to square leg
8.15pm Bad news. It's been called off folks. The captains have just shook hands. The outfield was just too wet in certain areas.
"There were three or four really muddy patches," says Morgan. "Player safety is paramount. Think it's the right decision. Hopefully we'll have some luck with the weather along the way. It's unfortunate for Olly, I know he's itching to get out there."
We'll wrap things up for today. Thanks for sticking with us. The next match is on Saturday (with a reserve day on Sunday). Until then, it's goodbye from Gnasher and Miller.
8.00pm Big Fan: "Is Alan Gardner's hairdo similar to Malinga's?" Yes, all the time. Here's a piece on one of the Zimbabwe players who has shown some promise against South Africa - and got some coaching tips from Imran Tahir.
The umpires are out having a wander round. Some serious prodding going on. Morgan and Chandimal are now out there
Mark: "@Steve I'm only a rocket scientist, so I'm not really qualified to talk about the advanced math of DLS but, in your scenario, my guess is that the target would be somewhere around 180-200. The reasoning would be that England are only 2-down with a decent score on the board, scored at a reasonable pace and thus would be expected to have put up a large total if they had batted the full 50 overs."
7.35pm Steve: "Does DLS still have the kink in it where these situations benefit the team batting second? If. say. England end up 145/5 off 23 overs, do you have any clue what sort of score Sri Lanka will be chasing?" I'm afraid I've never had much of an understanding of DLS. I do know there have been some small tweaks of late, but in this situation can't see how it isn't better being the chasing side. Someone out there might be able to do the maths.
Smokey Tim Robi: "DLS does take into account that England didn't know they would only have 20-odd overs instead of 50, and SL's target will be higher as a result." Yep, just wondering by how much.
The umpires have been in the middle chatting to the captains. Outfield seems pretty wet in some areas. The inspection has been pushed back - will now be at 8.15pm. Have to start by 9.30pm. Ground is now completely cleared of covers. "Three or four areas of concern," says Ian Ward on Sky Sports. "It's really marginal," adds Nasser Hussain about conditions.
Richard: "re DLS: Don't forget that, if this becomes a 25 over game or less, Sri Lanka will already have bowled out three of their best bowlers, including Malinga, who they would presumably want to bowl at the death. DLS takes no account of remaining bowling resources in calculating the revised target." Yes, good point
7.25pm Here's Fidel: "It seems pretty dry underneath - not sure why they would delay the inspection by so much."
Mark: "Not an ideal scenario for England. They may get 8-10 more overs to bat, needing to have a massive slog from the off to set a target. Sri Lanka will have the advantage of being able to adjust to batting under lights and knowing their target."
Nikhil : "Guys please try an let me know as to what the thinking behind the amount of time they take to get things going again is? There no rain and the covers are off now and still they have to wait till 8 to make a call ?? What if the rain comes back ?" Because, cricket. There was a lot of rain, too
7.05pm Matt: "Gnasher, how can this only be Liam Dawson's second ODI? It feels like he's been in every white-ball squad for the past three years." England have rarely needed a third frontline spinner and Moeen and Rashid have good fitness records.
There will be an inspection at 8.00pm local time. Plenty of action from the groundstaff
6.40pm The word from the ground is that the groundstaff are starting to take the covers off. Square is now uncovered. They reckon about 90 minutes to clear the playing area. "Still very light drizzle," says Fidel
Mark: "I had not realised that the ground has a Brumbrella. With full covering of the outfield, if the rain does stop and they can get off the covers without slopping too much water on the square, we could even get a game of some sort." A (brilliant) feature of the grounds in Sri Lanka. The groundstaff do wonders.
Ben: "Raining in Sri Lanka, meanwhile the UK is bathed in sunshine with summer like temperature in mid October, you couldn't make it up." Well, rain in Sri Lanka perhaps less surprising. It's monsoon season. Cricket schedules, eh!
6.30pm Hello everyone. Fidel reckons they might give it another hour before making a call. Although, there's another update: "Umpires are going out for an inspection of a ground still totally covered."
6.28pm Right, I'm off to hack off my remaining limb. Here's Gnasher, who has a sudden and overwhelming urge to be very busy.
5.54pm "Clouds over the ground have mostly cleared, but the rain has suddenly just got harder," says Fidel. "I don't know how that works. But I will continue this brave, unflinching reportage, I promise you that."
Saintly: "Maybe you should explain what an eyrie is, it's very different to eerie..." Unless it's late at night with not a soul remaining in the press box ...
5.52pm Sameera Srilal : "This may be another 20-20???" Yes, that is feeling like a best-case scenario...
5.40pm Jez: "They've been off around 2 hours now, so reserve hour is already gone, plus some match overs. When is the final cut-off?" Well, I've hacked off several limbs already. Might start on my left arm at about 7pm
The cut-off for a 20-over match would be 9.25pm, which is still the best part of three hours away. "Looking brighter, stlll drizzling, no movement from the groundstaff," says Fidel from his Dambulla eyrie.
5.30pm Hello team. Well, this is tedious. Though oddly enough, Lasith Malinga is still in action on my TV, bowling to England in the 2007 World Cup thriller in Antigua. A different era ... EDIT: Oh Ravi ...
Ketheez Bkw: "Any chances of starting the match sooon? " No. But don't let that get in the way of a good afternoon's digression
Did Gnasher say Australia were two-down for 87? Make that three ...
5.25pm karthik: "not twice, now its thrice " Indeed, what scenes. Abbas a wonderful bowler
Navin: "Can someone please update on the current status at Dambulla rather than talking about an event which isn't even going to happen within next few months" It's wet. Ground still covered.
Right, you've all had enough of me for now. It's back to Miller.
5.15pm Things have started to happen in Dubai. Australia's unlucky number has struck (twice).
Maggers: "@Anubhab Mukherj - Not a chance Plunkett doesn't play if he's fit. Suggest he would come in to your team at the expense (unfortunately) of Sam Curran."
Damian Saunders: "Personaly I'd replace David Willey with Sam Curran. Willey gets a few cheap overs upfront but thats about it. Sam is as good with the ball but has more to offer with the bat as he has already proven in tests." Thought Willey was exceptional this summer just gone and evolved his game. But Curran (S) certainly one for the future
Yasas SL: "Not publish my WC 2019 playing 11 yet right!? Please publish bro. Otherwise SL fellas depends on old SL model cricket. In this era, where England like teams scoring over 450 runs in 50 overs we should at least play with my recommend 11. 1. Tharanga 2. Sadeera (openers) 3.Kusal Janith 4.Kusal Mendis 5.Mathews 6. Dhananjaya de Silva 7. Dasun Shanaka 8. Akila 9. Shehan Madhusanka 10. Sandakan 11. Malinga"
5.00pm A few of you asking about reserve days. Only for the second and fifth matches of the series.
Waduge: "Only for the second and fifth matches of the series" sorry, i think you are wrong, it will be second and fourth games only. (For day games only)." It's second and fifth because they have an extra day available after them.
A more promising update from Fidel: "Still drizzling, but it's looking a lot brighter than it was 30 mins ago."
4.45pm Adrian: "There is a wee bit of snow flurries right now here in the Scottish Highlands. I wonder, has there ever been a match called off due to snow?" Snowed at Buxton in May once
James: "Geoff Miller (former England selector) played in the Buxton game, and says the game involved teenage Derby bowlers bowling to the likes of Lloyd. After the snow came and went, the Lancs quicks (the likes of Peter Lever) went through the Derby side quickly. Probably would have been an uneven contest without the snow. And Miller is an excellent after dinner speaker."
And here's Fidel with a (damp) update: "Rain has settled in properly, long delay I'm afraid."
Malith Rana: "Some absolutely ordinary reccomendations here from my fellow sri lankan cricket fans. These kind of radical changes are why we never find consistency. Just stick with the current group of players rather than bringing in people like karunaratne etc so close to the world cup. Have some common sense people!"
Barry: "It's glorious here in the garden of England, better known as Kent. How long is the flight as it may be quicker to ship them here to finish this match!"
Chandika Jayara: "It's bright and sunny here in Colombo. So much for the dry zone. "
4.35pm Hashmat: "More than the inclusion, omission of Dinesh Chandimal is a must.. He is a good Test batsman but not fit enough for ODIs, There are far more better players like Asela, Ashan Priyanjan and Siriwardena.. "
Jerry: "Best SL team for WC. 2019 Gunatilake, Kusal M, Kusal P , chandi, , Mathews , Asela g , thrimanne , Thisara , Akila, kulasekera , mailinga , Lakmal +++ dhnanyaja de Silva, rajitha, sandakan , Shanaka, phkd mendis"
Meanwhile, here's a bit of news regarding Alex Hales. He's heading to the BPL.
MANA: "I would love to see Dilshad bowler in the SL side a good swing bowler never been caped for SL. Feel like SL searching for pace than a economical swing bowler.."
Lakshitha: "Here is an alternative playing XI for Sri Lanka which does not include anyone from today's XI: Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Anjelo Mathews, Ashan Priyanjan, Asela Gunaratne, Charith Asalanka, Nuwan Kulasekara, Amila Aponso, Kasun Rajitha, Dhammika Prasad"
4.30pm Very heavy rain now at the ground. Meanwhile, Sam: "When reading these comments, SL needs to 22 men team to satisfy everyone"
Yasas SL: "Thanks Gnasher, I forgot to mention this, when debuts SL team, lots of experts said he will fulfill the Sangas place. He'll do it sure, if he get the opportunity to play in the 11. Hope this will publish too. Even Lahiru Thirimanne and Shehan Madusanka as bowler is best moves for WC 2019"
Neranjan Bandar: "There was a good tape ball cricketer named Prabhashwara Bandara who balls way fast and swing. Just like Mohammad Amir, he can be a superstar if given chance."
Anubhab Mukherj: "The English side for the ODI world cup should be: Roy. Jonny. Root. Morgan(c). Stokes. Buttler(wk). Moeen. Woakes. Sam Curran. Willey. Rashid. Everyone can bat, and they have got lots of varities in their bowling. If it is a 16 man squad, the other 5 should be: Hales. Tom Curran. Vince/Billings. Plunkett. Wood/Stone."
Ammar J: "Not really Sam. It's more about consistency. The selection committee isn't really helping much by picking the same old players who've already got their chance and failed without focusing on youngsters and nurturing them and providing the right guidance for them. Right now, it's like a hit or miss for Sri Lanka Cricket."
4.25pm Randheer: "A fit Mathews is a must for this team. As far as middle order is concerned Asela Gunaratne is there who has been extremely impressive as a lower order hitter winning us few games in 2017.He's a handy slow medium bowler as well. Dhanushka Gunathileke, Kusal Mendis are very much in the fold. The earlier having an injury, whilst the latter is dropped on poor form."
Yasas SL: "Hey Gnasher please publish this, Specially SADEERA SAMARAWICKRAMA should play WC 2019. His technically far beyond than any other batsman in current SL team. Actually he is a 360 batsman. Not giving him chances in team is very poor selection problem with SL management "
Randheer: "As far as England is concerned their batting is more or less settled. With additional batsman in Hales in their ranks. Morgan should back their fast bowling talent like Curran brothers, Olly Stone. Wonder if there's any chance for the express pace of Tymal Mills." Mills' body won't allow him to play 50-over cricket
Jamie Slaney: "Get Jofra Archer in there- his sharp bounce and batting down the order contributed to Sussex's renaissance of sorts this season- not sure who he should replaced!" As it stands, he isn't qualified
Oshanda: "No new names in batting line up. This side should allow to settle but fast bowlers should rotate. Dushmantha Chameera and Sheehan Madushanka"
Elias: "Re England: I know the batting is very settled but perhaps Sam Hain should get a look in? Averages just shy of 70 @ ~89 SR. Might help prevent collapses in a pressure situation like CT semi-final last year. "
4.15pm So, while it rains, let's have a bit of chat. Thinking about the World Cup. Sri Lanka fans out there, any names floating around you would like to be given a chance in this team? And from an England point of view, any late changes to what is a very settled squad?
Migara Kulaseka: "Tillakaratne Dilshan has shown his interest to make a comeback in international arena.Would be a great option if he is fit "
Navin: "Asela Guneratne"...isuru: "Should bring back Kulasekera, would be a good asset With his all-round support"
chanaka kumara: "Dimuth Karunarathne should be in this SL squad."
NL: "In response to the names of players to be played ahead of the world cup, We need to give Dhanjaya de silva a long run regardless of his form, give him enough confidence of a place and he will definitely show us his true quality, reminds me of a young Mahela! #HugeMahelafan"
Madusha: "Dilshan Munaweera and Ashan Priyanjan are top favorites to be in the side as Sri Lanka is struggling to find a good opening pair and a solid middle order batsman"
Plenty of calls for Asela Gunaratne...a few more names coming: Samiru: "Kamindu Mendis or Charith Asalanka"
Pradipto: "SL should pick Sekugge Prasanna and bat him at 8. Wrist spinner, Lower order hitter, fine fielder. Ideal 2nd spinner to partner Akila and add depth in batting too"
4.10pm Jesse: "How long till we lose overs guys" There is an hour of extra time, so we have some slack yet
GKM: "No weather website is showing any rain in dambulla, What is this frustrating hold up about, The match is so nicely poised!!!" Well, it's starting to rain
And Fidel has the latest: "The rain has finally arrived, and suddenly it looks pretty bleak out to the north, where it's coming from."
4.00pm Subham seth: "can anyone please explain me How can India regain the number 1 spot for the ODI rankings within this month? "
This from the ICC rankings update last week: In the England v Sri Lanka series, which starts in Dambulla on 10 October, England will have to win the series to retain their number-one ranking. Their failure to win the series, will give India a sniff at the top spot when they will take on the West Indies in the five-ODI series from 21 October.
More Fidel: "Having covered the entire ground, they seem to be bringing bits of rubberised tarpaulin from elsewhere and piling those on as well. I'm sure soon the crowd is going to be asked for food wrappers or bits of polythene to add. Meanwhile, rain hasn't even properly started yet. Very dark though."
3.50pm If you want some further live action, Australia have started their chase against Pakistan in Dubai
Sairandhree: "Still cant believe Angelo Mathews is not playing..." It's certainly an interesting move
Here's Fidel with the latest from the ground: "The whole ground is covered now, and the tyres are on holding the covers down, not much rain at the moment, but a downpour is obviously expected."
3.40pm Thanks Miller. Something for both sides in the opening 15 overs, but England ticking over nicely. Dark clouds looming. And those looming clouds are now bringing rain, the players are leaving the field. The whole ground will soon get covered. Wind has got up as well
Richard: "Seems like the rain waited for you Gnasher..." Very kind of it
Subham seth: "Is there any chance in this series for england to lose the top spot in ODI rankings?" Yes, will also depend on what happens in India v West Indies
Mohammed Pather: ""Soon to be splitting Gnasher....?!!" am I hearing that correctly. Please ..no.no..no.." Not a full split. A relocating split. I'll still be here
Right, that is drinks. I'm off to raid the cakes at ESPN's weekly bake-off. Here's the soon-to-be-splitting Gnasher for a stint
off the back foot, punched square
leg break, and blocked
Appuhamy : "You can add the 90* not out against the SL Board XI a few days ago, Andrew. Technically, Rooty has score 303 List A runs without being dismissed. It that ain't peng, I don't know what is! " Fried chicken in South London is peng ... apparently. Particularly Ravi Bopara's gaff in Tooting...
thumped out to short midwicket
worked into the covers, rising on the back foot
fully forward, and blocked back down the track
David: "apropos of nothing, should Morgan be back in the Test team?" Yes. Yes, he should ... bring him back as skipper, if you ask me
too short, leg-sided, a round-house club through backward square. It's not Malinga's day so far...
on the pads, worked to the leg side
punched off a fuller length, out to cover
Raghav: "After Eng v India ODI series, looks like Root has secured his place in the ODI side for the world cup. Its all a cunning plan from India to keep Alex hales out of the side and stop England reach 500 in the world cup." Root is England's insurance policy. The guy who will stop them getting 123 all out as well!
banged in short, and too high for Root to reach
worked to the off side
sweetly timed out through the leg side, and that's a fine piece of fielding at backward square leg to intercept a fast travelling ball
back of a length, outside off, defended to gully
spanked violently over square leg! Down on one knee for the sweep, met it with power and timing, and though Malinga was back on the rope, there was no getting close to that! Nailed it
forward again, pushed to the leg side
squared up on a full length, but squirted into the gap at backward point
It's worth pointing out, as Shiva Jayaramen just has, that Joe Root has scored 213 runs in his last two ODI innings without getting dismissed...
tucked to the leg side
lured forward on a full length
back of a length, on the back foot, meeting the offbreak with a clean punch on the up and through the covers. Quality strike
flicked very fine, by the left-hander this time. Malinga fails to find his line to either left- or right-hander, and pays the price