Sri Lanka v England 4th ODI: England could be in a spin again

Morgan has a good record when skippering in the past
Morgan has a good record when skippering in the past

Can the tourists level the series in Colombo on Sunday morning? Ed Hawkins thinks conditions will work against them

"In the two games in Colombo England have lost 12 of their 20 wickets to turn and it would be no surprise to see Sri Lanka hit them with spinner after spinner"

Recommended Bet
Sri Lanka 1.625/8

Sri Lanka v England
Start time: 04.30GMT
TV: live on Sky Sports

Sri Lanka
Mahela Jayawardene is expected to return to the side after missing the defeat in Hambantota for personal reasons. He will rejoin a new-look squad, which was always going to be revamped after the first three games.

In come bowlers Lakshan Sandakan and Suranga Lakmal. Sandakan, 23, is an uncapped chinaman and impressed hugely in his first season for Colombo, taking 54 wickets at 19. He has played only two List A matches. Lakmal, with 27 ODI to his name, is a known quantity and he bolsters a fragile-looking pace attack in the absence of Lasith Malinga.

Thilina Kandamby, who got a duck last time out, has been dropped but Ashan Priyanjan retains his squad spot. Not that he'll play. Jaywardene will come straight back in.

The embattled Alastair Cook was able to silence his critics as England won by five wickets in the jungle of Hambantota but the respite might not last long.

It was a surprise, however, that a fighter such as Cook would give his enemies any extra ammunition and his one-match ban for a slow over rate is careless in the extreme. If Alex Hales, who will probably open in his place, blitzes the Sri Lankans, or the extra batsman drafted in does the same, he will face even more calls for him to stand down.

James Taylor or Ian Bell will be the men eyeing the opportunity. Bell is in pole because this is an England set-up which favours a safety-first approach. Or rather experience over naivety.

Eoin Morgan will lead the side. It is a pre-requisite it seems for England captains to have batting issues and Morgan is on a horror run of 15 innings without a 50. James Tredwell's spin will be needed so Ben Stokes will probably have to make way.

First-innings runs
Four of the last six first-innings at the RPS have seen 300 or more busted. England, of course, are an odd one out. They were bowled out for 185. That brings down the average to 252 over the last 12 games. But this is a market of two halves. Or two sides. Sri Lanka we would expect to bust 275, England we would not. We remind you of this every game but it's worth repeating: in 12 of their last 17 first-innings in Asia they've gone under 275.

Match odds
With the addition of Sandakan, Sri Lanka now have four frontline spin bowlers to choose from on the receptive RPS wicket. Five if you include legspinning all-rounder Jeevan Mendis. Anyone would think England have a weakness against spin.

They do, of course. As much as form in the first two matches at the RPS was irrelevant for Hambantota, that venue is now irrelevant for the return to the RPS. It was a paceman's pitch up in the jungle and in Colombo it would be a surprise if it was not a tacky, slow, spinning surface.

That is hell for England. In the two games in Colombo they have lost 12 of their 20 wickets to turn and it would be no surprise to see Sri Lanka hit them with spinner after spinner. They will probably open the bowling with one.

England would have got confidence from their win but we cannot consider backing them until we have seen consistent evidence that they can play spin.

They are 2.588/5, a drop from the 2.77/4 last time, so it is fair to reckon Sri Lanka are the value at 1.625/8.

We should expect England to be a little more competitive than their last visit to the RPS. The innings by Joe Root and Jos Buttler in Hambantota were superb and proves England have strength in depth.

The weather forecast is not too bad. There are a few showers predicted but do bear in mind that no reserve day has been allotted.

Top Sri Lanka runscorer
Tillakaratne Dilshan top scored in game one and Jayawardene in game two. He also got a half-century in the first match. The pair are 4.3100/30 and 4.57/2 respectively. Kumar Sangakkara, who has passed 13,000 ODI runs, is 4.03/1. Angelo Mathews is 6.05/1. We always like him above 5.59/2.

Top England runscorer
Hales should finally get his chance as opener on this tour but don't expect him to star at 4.57/2 on a wicket which won't suit his style. Moeen Ali got a ton on this ground and is 4.3100/30. Root is expected to be more than 6.05/1 while look out for big numbers on Ravi Bopara and Buttler. Morgan, who averages 73 as skip, is 6.411/2.

Recommended Bet
Sri Lanka 1.625/8

Ed Hawkins 2014 P/L

2014: +358.60

2013: +250.80 (ROI 25%)

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