Ed Hawkins reckons top-order batters are the men to bet for the final ODI in Bristol on Sunday...
"Avishka is only 23 and averages a promising 35. But it is strike rate which reveals his talent. He rattles along at 96"
England v Sri Lanka
Sunday 4 July, 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Weather checks strategy
With stodginess beginning to set in - and thank the Lord this is the last game - in the mismatched series between these two, old faithful Mother Nature has turned up to sprinkle some wet stuff and potentially make it a contest.
The weather forecast for Bristol is not good. As I type, the BBC reckons there is a minimum 64% chance of rain from 06.00-12.00. That's not good for a prompt start or, indeed, a full 50 overs for each team. There's a 50% chance of rain from 13.00-16.00.
So we could be in for a soppy shootout with plenty of slipping and sliding on price. As discussed in our match preview, we need to be wary of the impact on innings runs wagers and the match odds.
As for the side markets, batsmen who are guaranteed the chance to face the most deliveries should take a cut for top runscorer honours. The openers have a big advantage here in a potentially shortened game.
Currently Sportsbook are pricing players for a 50-over match. The likes of Jason Roy at 5/2 or Jonny Bairstow at 11/4 would go off much shorter in-play in a 20- or 30-over thrash. For Sri Lanka, Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera are expected to open. They get quotes of 4/1 and 13/5 respectively. The odds on Nissanka seem big.
We are pleased to see Avishka Fernando return to the team at No 3 following injury. Despite the doom and gloom surrounding Sri Lanka's batting ability (remember Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella were sent home), Avishka has genuine international class.
Avishka is only 23 and averages a promising 35. But it is strike rate which reveals his talent. He rattles along at 96. He had a decent World Cup in England, too, taking a ton off West Indies in Durham. Sportsbook are taking a risk going as big as 11/2. He bats at No 3. We wouldn't want to be looking past first down for bets.
Other prices of note considering the weather are Sportsbook numbers on a fifty or century to be scored in the first-innings. They go 5/1 and 8/15 no respectively. We might have a dabble on the former. Sure, we're relying on overs being lost to the weather but we also have Sri Lanka's paucity of ability on side if they bat first.
Sri Lanka top bat wins/matches
K Perera 3 t/14
Avishka 3 t/12
G Jayasuriya 1/3
Sri Lanka top bowler wins/matches
Malinga 2 2t/4
Pradeep 1 3t/9
Udana 1 2/t10
Wanindu 1 2t/14
By George he's got it!
The top match batsman and man of the match markets are both expected to be popular again. As we have said before, in an uncompetitive heat it seems sensible to conflate these two with top England first-innings runscorer. More so in a shortened game.
Of course, our long-held strategy of swerving bowlers for the match gong has looked a little shaky with Chris Woakes and Sam Curran picking up the award in the first two. But we don't expect that to continue.
It is worth siding with those England batters who are likely to get most opportunity at the crease. Roy is 16/5 and 8/1 for top match bat and man of the match. Bairstow is 7/2 and 7/1. Curious that Sportsbook have different favourites. We'll keep faith with Jonny.We should also mention Liam Livingstone's odds at 4/1 and 12/1.
With the ball, top England bowler looks wide open given those win rates. Mark Wood is a truly awful bet at 10/3. Just three outright wins in 43 games is abysmal. So George Garton, a possible debutatnt, might be a fancy at 5/1. Garton has a better List A strike rate than Wood.
England top bat wins/matches
Bairstow 14 1t/62
Root 10 1t/65
Buttler 6 1t/60
S Curran 1/10
England top bowler wins/matches
Rashid 7 11t/66
Woakes 7 9t/43
Wood 3 6t/43
Ali 3 5t/57
T Curran 3 2t/23
Stokes 2 5t/44
S Curran 1 t/10
How to bet on mismatches. This week on Cricket...Only Bettor
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l