Having failed to follow up an impressive 83 against South Africa during England’s nervy 15-run World T20 victory over unheralded Afghanistan, Yorkshire’s finest Joe Root looks a fair 11/4 bet to bag a half century when Eoin Morgan and co face Sri Lanka.
Assistant coach Paul Farbrace decried England’s lack of experience against the Afghans, who had Morgan’s men on the rack at 85-7 before a tail end-inspired comeback, with bowlers Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan and David Willey accounting for over half their country’s total runs.
Root was as culpable as any after being run out for just 12, but the 25-year-old was in rare form prior to the scare against Asghar Stanikzai’s side and just missed out on a 50 in England’s opening-match defeat to the West Indies, managing 48 off 36 balls.
In returning to Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, where they were so nearly embarrassed last weekend, England ought to have an advantage over their next opponents who, in the words of Farbrace, ‘will be thinking about how they are going to play on that surface’.
Sri Lanka didn’t enjoy their clash against Afghanistan either, with opposing captain Stanikzai putting 62 on the board from the same position in the batting order as Root, while Windies opener Andre Fletcher smashed an unbeaten 83 in the Group 1 leaders’ easy victory over Angelo Matthews’ men.
Root was priced up at 9/4 with Ladbrokes, but the bookies’ list of enhancements includes that half-point bump up to 11/4. If it doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, you can have 5/6 on him bagging over 25.5.
In Ladbrokes’ Man-of-the-Match market Moeen must be of interest at 14/1 considering his efforts in India so far, with two unbeaten knocks and four wickets for the Worcestershire all-rounder.
England are warm favourites at 1/2 to win the match, with Sri Lanka at 13/8.
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