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Weather is England’s main rival

Weather is England’s main rival

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Sri Lanka and England will need a large slice of fortune if they are to get their ODI series properly under way in the second match of five in Dambulla on Saturday.

The first game of the series was washed out after a mere 15 overs on Wednesday and the weather forecast for Saturday is pretty bad, with the island in the midst of monsoon season.

Should the elements stay in favour of play, then England appear to hold all the cards to be able to show why they are the number one-ranked team in the world in this format.

England to win second ODI @ 5/14

In the last calendar year, the Three Lions have played 19 one-day internationals and won no fewer than 14 of them, giving them exactly the impetus they are looking for heading towards a home World Cup next summer.

Should they show anything like the form they have in recent months, they should prove to be far too strong for their hosts, who have not won a home ODI series since England last visited in 2014.

Key to the England success has been a batting unit which possesses ferocious firepower, so much so in fact that Alex Hales finds himself struggling to gain a place in the side.

Top Team Batsman, Jonny Bairstow @ 3/1

A major factor in the problems for Hales is the way Jonny Bairstow has taken to a new role at the top of the order, with Jos Buttler preferred for wicketkeeping duties.

Incredibly, Bairstow averaged in excess of 106 in ODI cricket in 2017, while in the present year he averages nearly fifty, having made four centuries in his last 12 innings and not been dismissed in single figures during that time.

Should rain mean a shortened match, then the likes of Buttler (21/4) and possibly Ben Stokes could become serious options as they could well be pushed up the order

Top Team Bowler, Liam Dawson @ 19/4

While England have also made strides in recent times thanks to the efforts of spin duo Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, it is the left-arm spin of Liam Dawson which may surprise a few people on this tour.

The Hampshire all-rounder has yet to make a major impression on the international stage, but his skiddy left-armers may well be ideally suited to the conditions in play in Sri Lanka.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.