Ed Hawkins previews the game from Dambulla on Saturday and the weather could have the biggest say again
"It is still worth remembering, however, that Sri Lanka are on an awful run with one series win in their last ten"
Sri Lanka v England
Saturday 13 October, 05:30
Live on Sky Sports
Sri Lanka boosted
Despite only 15 overs of play being possible, Sri Lanka would have been pretty happy with their work. They removed England's openers cheaply and were a quick double strike away, they would have reckoned, from something chaseable.
Akila Dananjaya, the spinner who can do it all, looked a threat, as did Nuwan Pradeep, who was miserly. He was getting movement off the seam, too. Lasith Malinga, however, looks a shadow of himself. As you would expect considering he's played twice in a year.
It is still worth remembering, however, that Sri Lanka are on an awful run with one series win in their last ten and there has been plenty of disquiet behind the scenes with Angelo Mathews effectively sacked.
They are almost certain to be unchanged from the XI which took to the field for game one. Dinesh Chandimal leads.
Dawson might not make it
England caused a surprise by picking Liam Dawson as a third spinner alongside Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. Considering the wet weather it would be another eyebrow-raising moment if he retained his spot.
That sounds harsh but with moisture in abundance, Dawson, who has the benefit of only one expensive bowl in an ODI, could be targeted. One of the Curran brothers might be a better bet to get zip off the surface. Olly Stone should hold on to his place to debut.
The washout might have cheered England, too. But for a different reason. It could have acted as a wake-up call, a reminder that the series could be a stern test.
Even with the contest 15 overs old, there are already suggestions that Jason Roy, for example, could be vulnerable. His average against spin is way down and he talked about a struggle to pick up Malinga.
Win toss, bat first
As we said for game one there is no toss bias in Dambulla under lights. However there is a toss bias in day games. From 20 matches, 13 have been won by the side batting first. England are more vulnerable having to defend a target so they may have a tricky decision to make if they win the toss. They are gun chasers. The last five first-innings scores in day matches read: 193-255-102-211-288.
Tourists' pacers could feel at home
England's strength of going after a target probably reduces the importance of the toss bias. Without it, we would have fancied taking them on at prohibitive odds. They are no better than [1.41]. Sri Lanka are [3.3].
The wicket is the same as the one which was used briefly for game one but that shouldn't really have an impact. Still, it wouldn't be hugely surprising to see England get themselves into a hole.
When Joe Root and Eoin Morgan were rebuilding there was a sense that Sri Lanka were on the brink of taking the game by the scruff of the neck. It will be interesting to see how England cope if they have to defend 260-odd.
Of course the most important factor is the weather. The forecast is terrible - as discussed here - and even a reserve day might not guarantee a result. With a stop-start affair expected that is something else that could reduce the gulf between the teams.
Batting might be harder than it would ordinarily with interruptions. And there could be seam and swing. England's pacers, unusually in Asia, might feel at home.
Sri Lanka's record at Dambulla is poor, losing their last six. With an average first-dig score of 230 in the last two years and a hardly run-laded recent history at the venue, shorting Sri Lanka runs at 230.5 at 13/10 with Betfair Sportsbook might appeal.
Root's record is strong
Being aware of the rules which dictate which bets are settled and which are not in case of rain is discussed at length here. Likewise the importance of recognising the value of openers for top-bat honours if a full game is not possible.
It's unfortunate that the weather confuses matters as we are keen on Root, Morgan and Jos Buttler for runs for England and Chandimal for Sri Lanka. Root has a fine record in the country and is 13/5 jolly for England honours. Morgan is 5/1 and Buttler 11/2. Chandimal is 7/2. We'd feel a little irritated, though if we backed middle-order players and then only 25 overs were possible.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l