England face Sri Lanka in the second match of their Champions Trophy campaign and the sides head into the fixture off the back of very different results.
England scored a comfortable victory over holders Australia that may have been even more comfortable had late order batsmen Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler not failed to fizz in quite the fashion that the latter managed so effervescently in the final ODI of the series against New Zealand – smashing 47 off 16 balls.
The Sri Lankans on the other hand fell to the Black Caps after a middle and lower order batting collapse that saw only one of their last eight wickets go for more than nine runs.
It was testament to the attacking prowess of Angelo Mathews’ men – and Lasith Malinga in particular – that they very nearly skittled the antipodes despite setting them a paltry 148 to chase down.
Malinga can be backed at 10/1 to claim man of the match honours against Alastair Cook’s XI, after his unique bowling style served up four wickets for 34 runs on a lifeless wicket against the Black Caps.
Sri Lanka batting coach Marvan Atapattu hopes that his experienced batsmen will bring more of their accumulated wisdom to bare at the Oval than they showed against New Zealand, where their batsmen took too many risks as they failed to realign their sights to a more modest total after the loss of early wickets.
They may struggle against an lively England attack that welcome back spinner Graeme Swann to the party.
England’s ability to get the orb reverse swinging early in the Aussie innings was key to the way they achieved victory last time out and it may be a decisive weapon once again against an attack that struggled last time out.
In contrast to their adversaries the judgement from the hosts’ wise heads Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott was far more astute in their last match. Their second wicket partnership of 111 required 22 overs to amass, but proved the bedrock of a total that was to prove beyond Australia.
This Group A clash will see two very useful attacks in action, but the greater familiarity and experience of the home batsmen as to the approach required to build ODI innings in English conditions is fancied to aid them in recording a second victory in the tournament – for which they can be backed at 8/13.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.