Starting on Wednesday Englands tour of Sri Lanka begins with a five match ODI series
Oct 10 1st ODI Dambulla
Oct 13 2nd ODI Dambulla
Oct 17 3rd ODI Pallekelle
Oct 20, 4th ODI Pallekele
Oct 23, 5th ODI Colombo
England last toured Sri Lanka in 2014 and lost the ODI series 5-2 before going on to a group stage exit at the World Cup a few months later. This time round they tour ahead of a World Cup, in 2019 at home in England
Since the 2015 world cup with a more modern aggressive approach and a consistent selection policy England have on 13 of 17 bilateral ODI series, two losses away to India and South Africa, one at home to Australia
Much of this success has revolved around a core group of players: Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, and Chris Woakes whohave now been in the one day side for five years
For Sri Lanka, though, such direction has been sorely lacking since that tour. The retirements of players such as Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been crucial and they haven’t been replaced nor has selection policy given their successors much of a chance.
Head Coach Hathurusinghe has changed line ups consistently with his team altering to counteract the strengths of the opposition, a far cry from the clear-eyed vision of the English leadership.
With five ODIs, a one-off T20I, and three Tests scheduled, this tour will certainly be a challenge for both sides. For England though it’s merely the next step in their ultimate goal of a home World Cup victory. Of course conditions will be difficult for England in the heat and on dry spinning pitches but this will be felt mainly in the three tests and not in the ODIs where white balls, fielding restrictions and better pitches mean their superior form and ability will lead to a series win
Bet365 have England 8/15 and Sri Lanka 6/4 for the five match ODI series. An England 4-1 series win appeals at 11/4 in correct score markets