England v Sri Lanka – T20I The Ageas Bowl at 18:30 live on Sky Sports 2
Nearly two months have passed since the Sri Lanka squad touched down on UK soil. In that time Britain has voted to leave the EU, the Prime Minister has handed in his resignation and the English football team has prematurely exited yet another major tournament. Through all this turmoil Sri Lanka still haven’t beaten England in a cricket match. In three Test matches and five ODI’s, the best the tourists have mustered up is a drawn Test (courtesy of rain) and a tied ODI in which they couldn’t defend 286 – this despite having England rocking at 82-6. This one-off T20I provides not only the tourists with their last chance of salvaging some pride from a poor tour, but perhaps their best chance.
Late evening sunshine should be in place over Southampton with temperatures hovering round a positively balmy 19c.
The Rose Bowl has hosted three T20I’s with the following scores made by the side batting first – 179, 163, 248 – Average 196
Here’s a list of the last eight scores in domestic T20’s at the Rose Bowl by the side batting first – 158, 143, 186, 181, 157, 172, 172, 173 – Average 167
First Innings Runs
England have batted first in 6 T20I’s since the start of 2016; here is a list of their scores – 155, 171, 142, 182, 171, 134 – Average 159
Sri Lanka have batted first in 5 T20I’s since the start of the Asia Cup 2016; here is a list of their scores – 120, 122, 150, 138, 129 – Average 131
Eoin Morgan leads a bullish England squad into their first T20I match since that dramatic final over World Cup defeat to the West Indies. Jason Roy will look to take his brilliant ODI form into the T20I format in which he has scored 207 runs in this calendar year. Opening partner Alex Hales is being given a rest so hometown hero James Vince should line-up for his fifth T20I. Jos Buttler, fresh from an IPL stint with Mumbai, has scored 288 runs in 2016 for England in T20I’s with 16 sixes and a SR of 155. Captain Morgan is still shy of runs and is a finer player than his 2016 average of 16.2 suggests, whilst Liam Dawson could get the call to replace the injured Ben Stokes on his home ground. All-rounders Chris Jordan, David Willey and Adil Rashid have all but been ever presents in 2016. Rashid has taken 7 wickets this year, with an economy rate of 7.9. Willey has taken 10 wickets in 7 matches this year and his economy rate of 7.6 has only been bettered by fellow Yorkshire quick Liam Plunkett, who is going at a miserly 6.4 in the 4 games he’s played. Moeen Ali is rested for this match alongside Joe Root and the aforementioned Hales.
Angelo Mathews skippers his Sri Lanka side in all three formats and comes into this match having scored 237 runs in his 8 knocks in 2016. Four of Sri Lanka’s six top run scorers this year are missing for this match including the vastly experienced Tillakaratne Dilshan. We can expect a similar line-up to that we saw in the ODI’s. Danushka Gunathilaka looked good in those 50 over games without a big score – 48 and 62 in the last 2 innings suggests he could be a danger here in this his fifth T20I. Kusal Mendis has looked the most exciting talent for Sri Lanka during their tour; this will be the 21 year-olds T20I debut. Upul Tharanga could bat anywhere from opening through to number seven. He played the last of his 10 T20I’s in 2012. Suranga Lakmal is about the only remaining seamer left standing that started the tour, but he’s no specialist having played just 6 T20I’s in five years. Dasun Shanaka has taken the most wickets in this squad (4) this year as fellow quick Nuwan Pradeep makes his debut here as well. Spin will come from Suraj Randiv and lower order basher and leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna.
Ones to Watch
Tymal Mills has been on England’s radar for some time now. The fiery, left-arm quick is becoming a bit of a twenty-over specialist, in which he is excelling. Mills took 19 wickets in 12 matches in the Blast last summer and has carried his form into 2016. Most exciting was the dismissal in which the Sussex man clean bowled Mr T20 Chris Gayle in front of the TV cameras earlier this year – the ball was delivered at 93.3mph – unheard of for an English domestic quick in recent years.
Alongside his captain, Dinesh Chandimal is one of just two genuinely world-class Sri Lankan’s left in the national squad. A career T20I average of 17.2 is way down on what the wicket-keeper bat should be delivering and a SR of 102 is simply pedestrian for a man who has now played 42 T20I’s. With runs in the Tests and ODI’s we can expect more from Chandimal here.
If England bat first, I recommend taking any OVERS RUNS around the 181-183 mark.
If Sri Lanka bat first, I recommend taking any UNDER RUNS around the 156-158 mark.
Top Batsman Market
Jason Roy is in such good touch and against such a weak attack we can back him to top score for England again here at 4.0
Kusal Mendis might be making his T20I debut here, but he’s looked a class act all tour. He can be backed at 5.50 to top score for Sri Lanka.
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