Sri Lanka v England: Hosts to take first blood in seven-game series

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Alastair Cook believes that if England peak at the right time at the World Cup, with the majority of their squad playing their best cricket at the same moment, then they stand a very good chance of winning the tournament.

Their tune-up starts in this first ODI against Sri Lanka at Colombo, where fans will hope to see a change in the brand of cricket played and a win at odds of 11/8.

Unfortunately the news.ladbrokes guys don’t quite see it that way, as they map out their three best bets for the game:

Sri Lanka to win @ 4/7

Doing the dutiful thing in answering India’s call after the West Indies pulled out of their tour didn’t do Sri Lanka much good, as they lost all five ODIs against Virat Kohli’s side.

They can return to winning ways against Cook’s side now they are back in their home surroundings, where they have won their last two and six of the last 10.

England, on the other hand, have won just two of their last seven outings in the 50-over game.

Angelo Mathews to score 50 @ 2/1

Captaincy has taken all-rounder Mathews’ game to new levels, as England found out in the Test match series on these shores last summer. But it is with the bat that he has really excelled in one-day cricket of late.

His last knock was a fine 139* against India and the 27-year-old has fallen for a single figure score just twice in his last 24 innings. In that span, Mathews has managed nine scores of 50 or better.

England to score under 3.5 runs in first over @ 5/6

Whether it is Alex Hales or Moeen Ali opening the England innings, neither will be facing the first over, as that responsibility falls to skipper Cook.

Not known for his expansive starts to the innings, back the left-hander to play out a watchful first over of the England innings. Like the maiden he sat on in the warm up game against Sri Lanka A.

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.