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England v Sri Lanka 1st ODI

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Now starts a five match one day international series that is set to be a great deal more competitive than the test matches, with a more hardened Sri Lanka side taking on an England team that’s high on confidence in limited overs cricket.

Skipper Eoin Morgan leads an exciting group of players who have different strengths and in Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler he has three individuals who are capable of winning matches on their own.

England have played the brand of cricket we all hoped they would when Trevor Bayliss took over. They’ve been bold, inventive, and prepared to take calculated risks. If they continue in that vein, the future looks bright.

Their side has remained pretty settled, with ROy and Hales at the top, followed by the likes of Root, Morgan, Bairstow and Stokes. Sensibly, Jos Buttler is being used as a floater, to add impact when required.

Bairstow is probably the form batter in world cricket at the moment, which is a mega turn around since last year when he looked shot of all confidence. And it’s just as well, because his keeping is truly terrible.

With the ball, England look very settled too, with more depth than they’ve had for a number of years.

Chris Woakes looked strong in the tests, and is known as a death bowling specialist, as is Chris Jordan.

It would be good to see Adil Rashid get a game, with leg spin very much the flavour of the month in this, and the shorter format. He’s a wicket taker, which, regardless of his economy rate, makes him the most valuable source of run savings.

As for Sri Lanka, they come into this game with a little confidence. They have the destructive Kusal Perera back in the side, and they have hammered Ireland, in Ireland.

Perera himself smoked a rapid ton against the men in green at Malahide, in a game where old skool, blast from the past, Farveez Maharoof made a comeback.

Perera is a man England need to be very aware of. He can turn a game in minutes and can score runs against anyone.


Seekkuge Prasanna is another player to look out for. His 95 against Ireland included a nine sixes. That’s special. He’s been playing with Northants too, so he’ll be accustomed to the conditions.

That said, I expect England to have too much in what will be a reasonably close game. But with the price being so short, I am looking to the top 15 over score field, where Sri Lanka’s exciting top order could prove exceptional value.

You can back Sri Lanka to score most runs in the first 15 overs at 6/4 with Paddy Power.

As for the top player markets, I’m splitting my top batsman money between two red hot form players.

You can back Jonny Bairstow to be top batter at 18/1 with Paddy Power

You can back Seekkuge Prasanna to be top batter at 60/1 with Paddy Power

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