England vs Sri Lanka 1st ODI Preview: Change of format unlikely to bring change in result for visitors
Joe Root will return for the ODIs, with Dawid Malan also set to keep his place as well.
Injury concerns for both sides
In what comes as a big setback for the already reeling Sri Lankan side, top order batsman Avishka Fernando has been ruled out of the ODI series due to quadriceps injury. Fernando could not make a big impact with the bat in the first two T20Is but remains a crucial player for Sri Lanka and has proved it on the world stage, not least in the 2019 showpiece event.
Fernando picked up the injury while fielding in the second T20 and was also ruled out of the final match of the T20I series.
England are already without two of their main men - Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer - who are both out due to injury. While Archer will take some time to recuperate after undergoing an elbow surgery, Ben Stokes has started playing for Durham in the T20 Blast and also came good in his most recent encounter, picking up 4 wickets and also contributing with the bat.
They will also miss the services of Jos Buttler who suffered a minor tear in the calf after starring for England in the first T20. He has been ruled out of the remaining matches of the Sri Lanka series. Jason Roy, Buttler's opening partner in the 1st T20I, is also a doubtful starter after a hamstring niggle.
Opportunity for Morgan to find form
This might present another opportunity for Dawid Malan to open the innings after the No. 1 ranked T20I batsman was added to the ODI squad in place of Jos Buttler.
Malan is set to open alongside Jonny Bairstow who himself suffered an injury scare when he injured his ankle playing for Yorkshire in the T20 Blast. The scare came in the same match in which he struck a brilliant century. Fortunately for him and for England, scans clear him of any major injury.
Not part of the T20 squad, the ODIs mark the return of England Test captain Joe Root who provides a lot of solidity to the England batting lineup. Eoin Morgan has not been in the best of form either in international cricket or in domestic T20 leagues, namely the T20 blast and IPL and will expect to come good.
Sam Billings and Liam Livingstone are expected to be part of the England middle order. Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes will provide the team with balance with their all round abilities.
Will Garton make his debut?
Moeen Ali has not been part of the T20I set up on a regular basis but has been given opportunities in the ODIs and is expected to keep his place. Mark Wood, after having earned his rest for the final match of the T20 series, is likely to be back.
Sussex seamer George Garton, known for cranking it up, has also got a call up in the ODI squad. Garton has been the second-highest wicket-taker for Sussex Sharks in the ongoing Blast behind Tymal Mills and has picked up 8 wickets while bowling at an average of 13.25 and an economy rate of 6.62.
England might also want to give Tom Curran an opportunity in the ODIs after he missed out in the T20I series. He can play ahead of Chris Woakes, George Garton or even Sam Curran (who played all the three T20Is against Sri Lanka and might do with some rest) given the thought process in the England setup.
Is Nissanka the answer to SL's batting troubles?
Sri Lanka will not make a lot of changes to their ODI lineup. Middle order batsman Pathum Nissanka may come in, for either Oshada Fernando or Kusal Mendis, and that's about it.
Sri Lanka have somewhat shown faith in a given set of individuals over the last year, something they are not used to doing, and it is now up to the players to stand up and get counted when it matters.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
England - Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, George Garton
Sri Lanka - Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera (c), Pathum Nissanka/Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Binura Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera
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