England vs Sri Lanka 3rd ODI Preview: Clean sweep on the cards even as Morgan looks to test bench strength
After five matches marred with controversy and poor performances, Sri Lanka will want to finish on a high.
SL look to return with consolation win
Sri Lanka might not have had very high expectations of themselves for the 6 white-ball matches at the beginning of the English summer. However, even by their standards, they have fallen way short. The team has failed to even compete well throughout the first five matches.
As Sri Lankan captain Kusal Perera said after another huge loss in the 2nd ODI, the team will want nothing less than a victory in the final match of the tour to at least earn a semblance of respectability. Given how things have gone till now, it will need a mighty effort from Sri Lanka to turn the captain's expectations into reality
The white Kookaburra is swinging!
It is great to see that the white Kookaburra ball is finally singing. It swung throughout the T20I series and it swung in the first two matches of the ODI series as well.
England left arm seamers Sam Curran and David Willey made brilliant use of the swing on offer and had Sri Lanka tottering at 24/4 within the first seven overs in the second ODI.
Sam Curran in particular was at his devastating best and removed Sri Lanka's top 3 in Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando.
If the white ball continues to swing, the upcoming series between England and Pakistan will be a treat to watch, with Pakistan possessing some fine pace bowlers in their ranks as well. However, given the inexperience of the Sri Lankan batting order, the swing has become a big impediment for them to score quickly, particularly against the likes of David Willey and Sam Curran who have expertise in swinging the new ball.
Sigh of relief for Eoin Morgan
It was a huge relief for Eoin Morgan as he finally made a score of substance in the second ODI, remaining unbeaten on 75 off 83 balls while batting at a strike rate of over 90 to close out the game alongside Joe Root with seven overs to spare.
The last time Morgan struck a half century in one day cricket was his 106 against Ireland at Southampton in August last year. The reason why his form appeared to have deserted him is his string of low scores in the curtailed IPL, and even in T20 International cricket.
The last time he scored a T20I half century was against Pakistan at Manchester in August last year. Since then, he has featured in T20 Internationals against Australia, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka but has not been able to rake up any score of note.
It is all chivalrous to say that the skipper does not care about personal returns, but it starts to weigh down even the most confident of the lot.
England to try out Garton
With the fate of the series already decided, expect multiple changes for England. Given that the team is set to play white ball series against Pakistan shortly, they will like to rest the likes of Sam Curran, Mark Wood and even Adil Rashid.
This might open the door for George Garton, Chris Woakes and Liam Dawson. Don't be surprised if Tom Banton, who was added to the the squad for the third ODI as cover for Dawid Malan, gets a game, especially after his blistering century in the T20 Blast.
Sri Lanka don't have a lot of options available on the bench unless Oshada Fernando has recovered from his illness, in which case, he will replace Charith Asalanka.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
England - Jonny Bairstow (wk), Tom Banton/Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, David Willey, Liam Dawson, George Garton
Sri Lanka - Kusal Perera (c & wk), Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fernando
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