England seek unassailable lead against Sri Lanka

After handing Sri Lanka an embarrassing 10-wicket defeat two nights ago, hosts England would look to extend their dominance and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the third of the five-match One-Day International series at Bristol on Sunday (June 26).

Having won the preceding 50-over series against Ireland courtesy some strong performances both with the bat and the ball, Sri Lanka put up a spirited fight, defending 286, on a batsmen-friendly Nottingham pitch in the series opener that culminated in a dramatic tie. However, their bowling looked pedestrian in the following encounter as the opening duo of Alex Hales and Jason Roy plundered easy centuries and single-handedly managed to overhaul Sri Lanka’s total of 254 with more than 15 overs to spare.

Hales and Roy started cautiously but switched gears soon enough and smashed bowlers all over the park to shatter numerous records during their opening stand of 256 which gave the hosts a lead of 1-0. Sri Lanka’s problems don’t end here. The visitors have concerns in the batting department too. Barring the captain and vice-captain duo of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, and cameos from Seekkuge Prasanna and Upul Tharanga, others are yet to make significant contributions that can give their team a commanding total to defend.

After a phenomenal debut in the series opener against Ireland earlier on the tour, Dasun Shanaka failed to make an impact in the next two games and faced the axe in the second ODI, suggesting that the visitors are leaving no stone unturned as they chase the elusive win against the hosts. With just three games left and a deficit of 1-0, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Sri Lanka alter their playing XI. They would, however, be hoping that their captain regains full fitness.

England, on the other hand, have put up one dominating show after another. When the top-order collapsed, in the first game, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes stepped up and Liam Plunkett’s last-ball heroics denied Sri Lanka a deserving win. Hales and Roy then wrapped up the chase all by themselves to back up a good show by their bowlers that restricted the visitors to just 254. The home team would like to carry forward the momentum and build an unassailable lead rather than leaving it to the final two games.

When: England vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI on June 26 at 10:30 AM Local Time, 3:00 PM IST

Where: County Ground, Bristol

What to expect: Not an ideal weather forecast for the day with showers expected just ahead of the start of play. But it is likely to improve as the day progresses.

Team News:

England: The home team fielded an unchanged XI for the second game and are unlikely to tinker with their winning combination unless they encounter a last-minute unforeseen situation.

Sri Lanka: Mathews’s hamstring remains an area of concern. The skipper picked up an injury during the 17th over of England’s chase in the tied game and took no further part in the game. Though he was declared fit to lead the side in the second match, his hamstring issue cropped up once again during his batting. Chandimal, too, battled similar issues in the second game. With series on the line, losing both their senior pros is something Sri Lanka can’t afford.

Did you know?

– England have won three and lost five ODIs in Bristol. They haven’t played here since July 2010. Sri Lanka are yet to play an ODI here.

– Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal have put together four 50-plus partnerships in as many innings in 2016 – 93, 88, 64 and 82.

– Liam Plunkett needs one more wicket to become the 24th English bowler to reach 50 ODI wickets. Graeme Swann is the only one who took more time from debut than Plunkett to reach the landmark.

– Dinesh Chandimal last scored a century against a Test-playing nation against England at Lord’s in July 2011 in what was his sixth ODI. He has played 89 innings since without adding to the tons tally.

Who said what:

“That chase was absolutely remarkable. I’ve never experienced anything like it. We were so in control without being reckless. The two boys were outstanding. They were very imposing and they played brilliant, very entertaining cricket,” Eoin Morgan, England captain, on Hales and Roy’s record partnership in the 2nd ODI


England: Jason Roy, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Chris Woakes, David Willey

Sri Lanka: Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews (Captain), Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Farveez Maharoof, Danushka Gunathilaka, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suraj Randiv, Upul Tharanga

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