England and Sri Lanka conclude their T20 series on Saturday and after a couple of matches on a stodgy wicket in Cardiff, both teams will be hoping that a switch to the Ageas Bowl offers up the chance to play a more entertaining brand of cricket.
England secured the series with a second win in Cardiff on Thursday and will go after a whitewash here but the overriding concern of both teams now will be to continue their preparation for the World T20 later in the year.
I don’t think it is too unkind to say that we haven’t seen anything like the best of England so far in this series. They have been very good don’t get me wrong, but there is still more to come from them. Where England have impressed in the series so far is the intensity in which they have played with despite being far superior to their opponents. They also deserve credit for getting the job done on iffy pitches which hasn’t always been their forte.
There is a lot more to come from their batting department but sometimes it is the conditions which dictate how well a side can bat and those pitches at Cardiff aren’t always as conducive to clean hitting as we would like. Where England have been very good in terms of their skills and things is in the bowling where they haven’t allowed Sri Lanka to get away from them. There is a bit of cleaning up to do with their fielding but overall England will be quite happy.
It has to be said that Sri Lanka have been something of a mess in this series so far. I gave them a poor performance in the first game of the series as they hadn’t had much cricket in the intervening period but there was no excuse for how bad they were with the bat in the second game. Admittedly England bowled well at them but Sri Lanka allowed them to as well. There was no intent to score even if it was just to rotate the strike. There was just nothing there.
As bad as their batting performance was, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Sri Lanka because they offered up a second solid bowling display on the trot. A couple of bowlers have really emerged as ones they can take forward with them which is really all they could ask out of this series. The attack shows that if they can find a way to score some runs and put anything like a competitive total on the board they could still take something from this series.
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England haven’t yet used Moeen Ali, Tom Curran or Liam Dawson in this series and might choose to get some game time into them here. Mark Wood could be one to make way after playing both matches so far. Jos Buttler has been ruled out of this match.
Sri Lanka don’t really have many more options to play but one of them is the youngster Dhananjaya Lakshan who looks an exciting prospect. If he isn’t going to get a game in a nothing game like this one when will be the time to blood him?
This hasn’t been a big hitting series and I’m not sure a lot is going to change here in that regard either. I say that because clearly Sri Lanka are out of their depth against this England bowling attack but it isn’t like England have smoked the Sri Lanka bowlers to all parts even on a ground where the straight boundaries are pretty tiny. They are not as tiny here at the Ageas Bowl so I don’t see this being a particularly big hitting game, especially if they is some juice in the pitch after all the rain that has been around.
You can get 11/8 on under 10.5 sixes in this match and that just feels a huge price particularly when you consider there has only been 10 sixes in the series in total in the two matches. I guess England batting first would build the total but as I said this is a big ground and Sri Lanka have bowled well while the likes of Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan aren’t in the best of form. If Sri Lanka bat first it is hard to see this losing so I’m happy to be on the under here.
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