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HomeCricBlogSri Lanka vs England 1st ODI Preview + Dream11

Sri Lanka vs England 1st ODI Preview + Dream11



Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Sri Lanka vs England 1st ODI Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog CricBlog Cricket Preview

A side that has lit up the ODI format in recent times up against one that has stunk it up.

It is incredible to believe the turnaround in fortunes of these two sides since England’s last visit to Sri Lanka for an ODI series. The Lankans thrashed England 5-2 just before the 2015 World Cup, which led to the demise of Alastair Cook. Then, for good measure, Sri Lanka hammered England in the World Cup as well – the wretched tournament behind England’s ODI transformation.

So, will there be a reversal of fortunes this time, or can Sri Lanka defy the odds?

The last 20 months in particular have been chaos for Sri Lanka. In 40 ODIs in this period, they have lost 30, with the latest disappointment a very poor showing at Asia Cup 2018. Sri Lanka’s management believe Angelo Mathews’ poor fitness is the main cause of their struggles, which has seen him shafted and Dinesh Chandimal employed with the arduous task of getting this team off the mat. At home, though, with spin to play a key role, Sri Lanka can’t be written off – can they push England on the back foot straight away?

For England, this is a big tour. The subsequent Test series is one many fans are looking forward to, but as the number one side in ODIs, here is an opportunity to flex their muscle away from home. Excluding their one-off defeat to Scotland in June, England have won eight bilateral ODI series on the bounce, and enter Sri Lanka with a well-balanced side. Their transformation as an ODI side since 2015 has been something to behold, and now they can showcase the true reversal of fortunes of these two sides with a big performance in the 1st ODI.

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Key to a Sri Lanka win

Sri Lanka were simply horrendous in the Asia Cup, with their batting and fielding, in particular, a standard that a club side would be condemned for. These issues were also prevalent in the preceding ODI series at home to South Africa, where their top order couldn’t get going. Their star performer in the final two matches of that series – Angelo Mathews – won’t be available here.
So, what will be different this time?
The additions of Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella can give Sri Lanka fans hope, but with what substance? Dinesh Chandimal has not played an ODI for nine months, and Dickwella continues to be inconsistent. However, now is the time, against the best ODI side, to change that. To stand a chance in this clash, Sri Lanka’s top order must fire, giving their middle order a platform to launch.
Also, what challenge can Sri Lanka’s bowlers pose to England’s dangerous batting line up? Lasith Malinga, who marked his return to the side with an unbelievable performance against Bangladesh, will be key at the top. So too will the spinners, who will be tasked with building pressure and forcing get-out shots from England’s batsmen, who are often keen to get things moving rapidly.

Key to an England win

Like a tasty looking dish coming to your table at a restaurant, Sri Lanka’s top order looks a delicious proposition for England’s bowlers. The absence of Liam Plunkett and David Willey is a blow, but in Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes and one of Sam or Tom Curran, England still possess a seam attack that is capable of ripping through a beleaguered batting line up.
Add Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, who were excellent in the England summer, and Eoin Morgan will be confident of a complete bowling performance that reduces the pressure on his batsmen. 
But, plenty of eyes will be on England’s batting. How well will they cope with the spinners, particularly Akila Dananjaya, who took 6/29 in his last ODI outing in Sri Lanka? Can they rotate the strike effectively, and curb natural instincts if the situation demands it? It should be an interesting battle.
Of course, the heat and humidity will be a test of England’s fitness – can they beat Sri Lanka, as well as the conditions?

Possible XIs

As mentioned, Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella are the two main changes, coming in for Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis (both dropped).
Sri Lanka possible XI: 1. Upul Tharanga, 2. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 3. Kusal Perera, 4. Dinesh Chandimal (c), 5. Dhananjaya de Silva, 6. Dasun Shanaka, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Akila Dananjaya, 9. Lakshan Sandakan, 10. Dushmantha Chameera, 11. Lasith Malinga
Will Sam or Tom Curran play as the third seamer for England? Or will Olly Stone play? Apart from that conundrum, England’s side looks pretty settled, with Jason Roy to come back to the side after missing England’s last ODI with a finger injury. Whatever the bowling combination, England will have a long batting line up, which will be a tough ask for Sri Lanka to dismantle.
England possible XI: 1. Jason Roy, 2. Jonny Bairstow, 3. Joe Root, 4. Eoin Morgan, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jos Buttler (wk), 7. Moeen Ali, 8. Chris Woakes, 9. Adil Rashid, 10. Sam Curran/Tom Curran, 11. Mark Wood


Should more Sri Lanka or England players be in your Dream11 side? Below is my team, with a few pointers.
Sri Lanka vs England 1st ODI Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog CricBlog Cricket Preview
  • Jos Buttler is a player capable of exceeding even in Asian conditions. Quality player.
  • A couple of milestones await Jonny Bairstow in this one, and Joe Root is a fantastic accumulator, which is important for England in Sri Lankan conditions. 
  • Thisara Perera, a key player for Sri Lanka, makes the side, and so too Moeen Ali.
  • Adil Rashid and Akila Dananjaya are important additions to your side. From a seamers point of view, Chris Woakes and Lasith Malinga have wicket taking potential.
Keen to have a go yourself? Sign up for free today!

Stats and Facts

  • England have won their last eight bilateral ODI series (excluding one-off ODI v Scotland).
  • Sri Lanka have lost 30 of their last 40 ODIs, as well as each of their last seven completed ODIs in Dambulla.
  • Jonny Bairstow needs 30 runs to reach 1,000 for the calendar year in ODIs. The last England batsman to achieve this was Jonathan Trott in 2011. He also needs 38 to reach 2,000 ODI runs.


The conditions bring these two sides closer together, in my opinion.
A battle between number eight and number one typically shouldn’t be tough to predict, but England fans shouldn’t expect a walkover in this one.
If the rain stays away, though, I think England will overcome Sri Lanka thanks to the extra quality they possess, despite a key practice game washed out a few days ago.
Thanks for reading! 
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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