England v Sri Lanka: Cook’s strong record points to a captain’s innings

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England’s batting tactics may have come in for some criticism during their opening ICC Champions Trophy victory over Australia, but at least they were better than Sri Lanka’s.

The men from south Asia were skittled out for just 138 against New Zealand in Cardiff, with a spirited attempt at defending that measly total unable to prevent a defeat by one wicket.

England might find that their slow accumulation of runs proves costly against teams with a greater ability to ‘go big’ later in the tournament, but ahead of the contest against the Sri Lankans at The Oval they will be looking to their captain to anchor the innings.

With Ladbrokes customers offered the best price on all players in the top runscorer market for each match at the Champions Trophy, skipper Alastair Cook should be attracting plenty of attention ahead of England’s second Group A match.

Cook, who is available a 10/3 to be England’s top batsman in the match, led the way with the most runs in two of the last three of England’s ODI contests with the Sri Lankans, both of which took place on English soil.

In addition, the Essex man has hit three international centuries at The Oval across all forms of the game in the last three years.

Having top scored against Australia at Edgbaston Cook’s fellow opener Ian Bell could well find some support at 7/2, especially given that he has top scored in England’s last two ODIs.

However the Warwickshire batsman has only topped the scoring charts once in his 17 50-over contests with Sri Lanka, and has scored over 50 in just one of his last seven against them.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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