Ed Hawkins previews the final game of the series from Colombo on Tuesday from a stats point of view
"This series we have been consistently keen on Root for honours. He has consistently cost us money. Without the weather intervening on Saturday it seemed to be a straight head-to-head between him and Morgan"
Weather to play a big part
With the weather forecast poor and the possibility of overs being reduced significant - as tends to happen when you schedule a cricket match in monsoon season in Sri Lanka - a lot of side bet options are thrown out of whack.
It could be a 20-over game, a 30-over game or a 50-over game with the side batting second managing half that. In Kandy for game four Sri Lanka got through their full quota and England managed only 27 overs before the rains came.
This was frustrating if you had wagered on top England runscorer for anyone bar Jason Roy, who was able to take the honours with 45. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan were both closing in before the weather did likewise. Similarly, top Sri Lanka bowler wagers, placed in anticipation that most would get a full quota, went down.
It is tricky to work out how to approach this contest at the RPS in Colombo. The weathermen, at the moment, seem to suggest that it will be the first-innings which will be interrupted due to thunderstorms. Indeed, it may not start on time. So the prospects of overs being chalked off seems more likely than a repeat of Kandy.
Obviously in a reduced-overs contest it is the opening batsman and No 3 who deserve most respect for top bats. Roy is 16/5 for a repeat and his opening partner, Alex Hales, is 7/2. That is a big price about Hales if overs are lost. But the 7/2 won't be available with rain falling so you pays your monies and you takes your choice now about the Nottinghamshire man. For the record, we have him down at around 5/1 as to how often he 'wins' when all is fair.
This series we have been consistently keen on Root for honours. He has consistently cost us money. Without the weather intervening on Saturday it seemed to be a straight head-to-head between him and Morgan. Having been pushed out to 16/5 for Kandy he's now back into 11/4.
As infuriating as it will be if he manages it this time and we're not on, it seems hard to justify a bet on a cut in odds following another blank. Morgan is 7/2.
We will keep faith with Liam Plunkett, however, for top England bowler. He has not played in the series due to getting married (what is this? The Dog and Duck on tour?). Despite his absence and Olly Stone's strong start, Plunkett's place in the XI hasn't been especially threatened.
In moist and overcast conditions, Plunkett should be a real threat. Although not as quick as Stone he still gets seam and swing at a terrific lick and his numbers in the last two years on this market are strong. The 10/3 is excellent value considering over his career (which had a very slow start) he should be shorter.
No fifty catches eye
With one eye on the weather it would be remiss not to point out a potential big-price winner on the 'fifty to be scored' market. Sportsbook go 5/1 that no fifty is scored in the first innings. It is tempting indeed considering the Colombo skies. In a 20-over match the 'no' is about a 7/4 chance usually with Sportsbook. It is arguable that's a pretty significant edge in our favour. But, essentially, you are betting on the weather and we tend to shy away from that.
2018 - points p-l: -0.2 (66 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)