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England v Sri Lanka 3rd Test

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Alastair Cook’s England take the field at the home of cricket knowing that a win will secure them a series whitewash, further backing up their strong performance in South Africa. However a loss, against this transitional Sri Lanka side would be a sign that dominance is some distance away.


Aside from Dinesh Chandimal’s stout performance in the second innings in the second test, this has been an easy mission for Cook and co. For the most part, Sri Lanka have lacked the fight that has characterised the rise from the cricketing hinterland to worthy adversaries.

Granted they have far fewer world-class players than many teams at the moment, but England would be in the same position if Cook and Root retired tomorrow. In fact losing Sangakkara and Jayawardene had an even bigger effect, because they are two of the best players of all time.

In this final test, the two sides meet at Lord’s, where Sri Lanka have been dealt a further blow, with opener, Eranga suspended with an illegal action. Their coach Graham Ford has questioned the country’s depth in that regard, calling up the uncapped Bandara as a replacement.

They do have two things going for them. Firstly the return of the flamboyant Kusal Perera who was wrongly accused of doping.

He is a serious talent with the bat and a decent keeper. Their previous gloveman made a number of crucial errors last time, including dropping Chris Woakes early in his innings.

Secondly, England lost to Sri Lanka at Lord’s in 2014. That said, few of those playing tomorrow will remember that result.

That said, England go into this game as firm favourites and should win comfortably. An area for concern for Trevor Bayliss will be his side’s fragile top/middle order. Aside from Alex Hales, there have been precious few runs, with most match-winning runs coming from six and seven.


So far this series James Anderson has been in irresistible form, resulting in Sri Lanka having opening partnerships of 10 or less, on three occasions. They’ve only batted four times.


You can back Sri Lanka to have an opening partnership of less than 19.5 at 10/11 with Skybet.


As for the player markets, I’m checking out the top bowler field, where there is one name on everyone’s lips. James Anderson has 18 wickets in two tests and seems refreshed after a decent rest. He could easily nip a few out early while the Lord’s deck is still receptive.


You can back James Anderson to be top England bowler at 5/2 with Bet365.

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