Only T20I (N), Colombo (RPS), October 27, 2018, England tour of Sri Lanka
(20 ov, T:188) 157

England won by 30 runs

Player Of The Match
20 (17) & 4/19

Buoyant Sri Lanka aim to make short work of England once more

England could bring back Joe Denly after eight years in the wilderness, while Sri Lanka have called up Sadeera Samarawickrama

Jos Buttler guides one onto the leg side, England v India, 3rd T20I, Final, Bristol, July 8, 2018

Jos Buttler guides one onto the leg side  •  Getty Images

Big Picture

Following an ODI series in which all five matches were affected by the rain, Sri Lanka and England will now attempt to squeeze in a one-off T20 that could be more splash than thrash. By the time the rain came hammering down in Colombo on Tuesday, England had suffered a painful-looking belly-flop to end their winning run; Sri Lanka will be hoping it is them handing out the towellings from here on in, with three Tests to follow next month.
Given that the third ODI in Pallekele was a 21-over affair, things might not be greatly different now the teams are officially playing T20. England have taken to opening with Jos Buttler (where he averages 62.75, at a strike rate of 158.86, from five innings) and have added yorker specialist Chris Jordan to their party; there might not be room for Joe Root, and Joe Denly could complete a remarkably long-and-winding return to England colours, but otherwise the line-up will be pretty familiar.
Sri Lanka will be led by Thisara Perera in this format, while Lasith Malinga could win his first T20I cap in over a year following a successful return in the ODIs. Perhaps the most interesting name in their squad is that of batting allrounder (and ambidextrous bowler) Kamindu Mendis. A former U-19s captain, and one among a crop of young players trying to perfect the skill of bowling with both arms, Mendis played against England in one of their warm-up games and could make his full international debut.
With the next men's World T20 still more than two years away, there may not be many significant lessons to learn - but both teams, and an expected full house at the R Premadasa Stadium, will be hoping the weather doesn't spoil their fun.

Form guide

Sri Lanka WLLLW (completed matches, most recent first)
England LWLWW

In the spotlight

After his barnstorming return to form in the fifth ODI, Kusal Mendis will be champing at the bit for another crack. A 30-ball fifty, which featured several imperious blows beyond the ropes, was pretty decent practice for shifting up into T20 gear - a format in which he has already made four half-centuries this year. Sri Lanka will be hoping that their foremost young batting talent can go into next month's Test series with confidence fully replenished.
Alex Hales was unable to capitalise on the opportunity afforded by Jonny Bairstow's injury during the ODI series, making scores of 12 and 0, while his fielding has also come in for scrutiny - in the second Pallekele game, he managed to drop Dasun Shanaka for six. He has competition in the T20 side, too, after Buttler's successful outings at opener. Having given up first-class cricket to focus on smacking the white ball, these are the moments he needs to seize.

Team news

Kusal Perera has not recovered from the quad strain he sustained during the second ODI, so Sadeera Samarawickrama has been added to the squad and will likely come into the XI. Kamindu has won his first senior call-up for Sri Lanka at 20, and he could compete with Dhananjaya de Silva for a spot. There has been some late news that Akila Dananjaya is also injured, which means Amila Aponso has been added to the squad, and could take his spot in the XI.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 2 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Dasun Shanaka, 7 Thisara Perera (capt.), 8 Isuru Udana, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Amila Aponso, 11 Dushmantha Chameera
England have flown in Jordan but will otherwise pick from the same squad as for the ODIs. Several players missed training on Friday, however, including Joe Root, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone. Denly looks set to come in for his first England cap in over eight years, though he is unlikely to be given the top-order berth he occupies for Kent.
England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Alex Hales, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Joe Denly, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Tom Curran

Pitch and conditions

The Premadasa was flat and full of runs for Tuesday's ODI (during the Sri Lanka innings, at least) and they will be using a fresh surface - although that doesn't completely rule out the possibility of spin. However, the weather once again looms as a major obstacle, with showers and thunderstorms likely to arrive over Colombo during the late afternoon/evening.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have lost three of their last four T20 outings in Colombo, including a penultimate ball defeat to Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy that led to a dressing room door being smashed.
  • England have played two T20s at Khettarama, beating Afghanistan and losing to India during the 2012 World T20.
  • Denly's last international appearance came against Pakistan in Dubai in 2010. England promptly switched to the uncapped Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter as their opening combination and went on to win the World T20.
  • Denly does however hold the distinction of being one of only 15 men to take a wicket with their first ball in international T20.
  • Quotes

    "Kamindu played alongside with me for Colombo District in domestic cricket. We know what he is capable of. He's a remarkable player - he can bowl with either hands and when a right-hand/left-hand combination is out in the middle, having him in the team is a big bonus for us. He is a good fielder and a good batsman as well."
    Thisara Perera talks up multi-skilled prospect Kamindu Mendis
    "The last ODI was a wake-up. I don't recall the last time we were hit for 360 as a bowling unit or played so poorly with the bat. It was a big learning curve. It gave us a big kick up the arse. Hopefully we can right those wrongs on Saturday."
    Ben Stokes says England are looking to bounce back quickly after a record ODI defeat

    Alan Gardner is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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