Sri Lanka v England 6th ODI Betting: Emboldened England eye another surprise

Root was in brilliant form in game five
Root was in brilliant form in game five

Ed Hawkins previews Saturday morning's contest in Pallekele and advises that punters should stick to a runs bet, safe in the knowledge that the wicket is not conducive to big scores...

"Given how dry and dusty the wicket looked it would need quite a renovation to change into a strip where batsmen can freely hit through the line of the ball."

Recommended bet
Lay 275 or more first-innings runs at 2.26/5

Sri Lanka v England
Start time: 04:30
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka seem a little bit panicked after England won in Pallekele by five wickets to reduce the deficit to 3-2 with two to play. It wasn't supposed to be this close. Indeed, they reckoned that they'd have the series won by now so they could experiment.

Instead they may be forced to make changes to try to remedy weaknesses. The most pressing is an opening partner for Tillakaratne Dilshan. Kusal Perera has been pretty hopeless so Mahela Jayawardene could be asked to open. The untried Ashan Priyanjan could come in to the middle order.

With the ball, Sri Lanka could try a different approach. They watered the wicket after England had chased 239 on a raging turner. So Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage, the pacers, are an option to give the attack a more traditional feel. Dhammika Prasad could be dropped. There has also been talk about picking chinaman Lakshan Sandakan.


A chase of 239 doesn't sound that much but England's success in game five must rank as one of their more impressive efforts in ODI. Everything was against them, not least their own history.

But they have a couple of gems in Joe Root and James Taylor, who showed that Englishmen can play spin. They maneuvered the ball expertly and at times it was like watching those old pros Messrs Sangakkara and Jayawardene. 

Six wickets for Chris Woakes made him the hero of England's bowling display but a big slap on the back should also go to James Tredwell, who was an unsung hero. His ten overs cost just 33. It all means England should be unchanged.

First-innings runs

The first-innings average in the last 11 games when rain has not reduced the overs in Pallekele is 264. Sri Lanka's low total last time therefore was out of character. However, there appears to be a burgeoning trend for low scores. In three of the last four 240 has not been breached. Given how dry and dusty the wicket looked it would need quite a renovation to change into a strip where batsmen can freely hit through the line of the ball. Getting short of 275 looks a wise shout.

Match Odds

Sri Lanka are 1.645/8 and England 2.526/4 and the question we have to ask ourselves is: are we convinced that England have finally solved their travails against turn? Probably not. We would need a greater slice of evidence before disbelieving what has been a reliable, entrenched trait. 

The performance in game five suggests they are more trustworthy and that knowledge is best applied sparingly, probably in an in-play situation. For example, in the past we would have been against England chasing 239 but now we know they can make a better fist of things.

If Sri Lanka panic and try to produce a more seaming pitch then it will play into the hands of England, who will reckon they need only two wickets - Sangakkara and Jaywardene - to run through the hosts. We expect a close contest and would not put you off a back-to-lay of the tourists, particularly as they have a habit of taking quick wickets. Remember there is a reserve day. 

Top Sri Lanka batsman

Dilshan went off like a rocket last time on his favourite ground and although he soon ran out of fuel, his record there is still compelling. He has an incredible 803 runs in 12 innings and one gets the feeling that because he didn't fire in game five, it makes it more likely he will in six. He is 4.84/1. Jayawardene, who could open, is 5.04/1.

Top England batsman

England's runs are likely to come from their engine room. Or in other words, their best players of spin. Root is 5.69/2, Taylor 5.24/1 and Eoin Morgan 7.613/2. That is big indeed about the Irishman, who has made a welcome return to form on this tour. Even bigger is Ravi Bopara at 8.07/1, who has been batting one place higher than Morgan. 

Recommended Bet

Lay 275 or more first-innings runs at 2.26/5

Ed Hawkins P/L

2014: +344.80

2013: +250.80 (ROI 25%)

To £10 level stakes, based only on available prices

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