England vs Sri Lanka – Team batting second will win series

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Winning the toss could prove the critical factor in whether England or Sri Lanka end up claiming victory in the final one-day international between the pair at Old Trafford.

The one-day series is delicately poised at 2-2, with both of the last two matches being won emphatically by the team batting second.

With conditions expected to be overcast at Old Trafford, batting second could prove a massive advantage again and will certainly give Sri Lanka a far greater chance of securing victory.

England’s bowlers are definitely more capable of benefiting from favourable swinging conditions and bowling first James Anderson could once again rip through the top order, as he did in the last game at Trent Bridge.

It is 4/6 in the cricket odds that England beat Sri Lanka and there is a strong possibility that Sri Lanka will be forced to settle for a small total if they bat first, which England should be able to patiently chase down.

However, if England bat first, Sri Lanka will know the size of their run chase and may be able to be more watchful in the early overs rather than attempting to register big runs during their powerplays.

Either way, there will be pressure on senior batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara to perform, particularly as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thillina Kdamby have been short of runs in the series.

Jayawardene is 13/8 to score at least 50 at Old Trafford, with Sangakkara the same price.

England are expected to be unchanged for the fifth straight game and may be helped by the fact that Sri Lanka fast bowler Suranga Lakmal is a doubt with a hip problem.

Alastair Cook has already made 95 and 119 in the series and can be relied upon to make another solid contribution.

England captain Cook can lead from the front and is also 13/8 to score a half-century in the series decider.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.