ODI switch means it’s time to back Sri Lanka over England

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There were signs in the washed out third Test at Lord’s that this Sri Lankan touring party were finally getting to grips with their surroundings. The introduction of a white ball and limited overs will further accelerate that acclimatisation.

Sri Lanka’s record in one-day internationals held in England is remarkable for a side that seem so at odds with the conditions on offer whenever they arrive to front up against James Anderson.

In the last 10 years, they have won 11 of 16 ODI tussles and claimed two of the three series contested.

Victory in a Champions Trophy battle in 2013 adds further emphasis to the danger they pose in this format, while two emphatic wins over Ireland in preparation for the latest clash suggests their red-ball woes are behind them.

Although Eoin Morgan’s side are far from a beleaguered outfit in coloured clothing these days, odds of 4/11 to win the first ODI of the series at Trent Bridge are just far too short to consider supporting. Especially when such meaty recent form is on offer for the tourists.

Instead 9/4 about Angelo Mathews’ men gets our support. The visitors must win all five outings in order to keep the new all-encompassing Super Series alive heading into the T20s, so there’s further incentive to prevail.

If England’s odds aren’t worth paying too much attention to, the price on one of their openers to notch a record-setting half century certainly are.

Alex Hales put a dire Test series against South Africa behind him as soon as the ODIs rolled around, with five consecutive scores of 50 or more.

Should he tag another onto the end of his run of 57, 99, 65, 50 and 112 in the format, he will be the first Englishman to register six 50-over half centuries in a row.

We go 13/8 that he manages it and offer 8/1 that he puts in a man-of-the-match performance.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.