The visitors will hope for a turnaround in fortunes and performances after their 3-0 series defeat in the T20I leg of the tour, while England look to build on the momentum from the clean sweep.
England vs Sri Lanka, first ODI
Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street
29 June, 11:00 am local
The hosts will be riding high after their performance in the T20I series, where they emerged as the dominant outfit with a 3-0 victory. Skipper Eoin Morgan will also see the three-match ODI series as an opportunity to fine-tune some of the areas ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year, with a few positions still up for grabs. Despite missing the services of Jos Buttler, England will back their squad, especially in their own backyard to deliver the goods against a Sri Lankan outfit lacking in confidence. A series victory will also strengthen their position on the CWC Super League table, where they will have an opportunity to climb up to the top spot.
Sri Lanka's batting proved to be their weakness during the T20I leg of the tour and will be the main area of concern for skipper Kusal Perera. It remains to be seen whether he will ring in the changes or persist with a similar combination and back them to come good. The visitors also find themselves in a precarious situation on the CWC Super League table, languishing at the bottom after their recent series defeat against Bangladesh. They will quickly need to turn a corner to start registering positive results on the board.
In a big blow to the visitors, their players Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella were suspended for bio-bubble breach in the UK and are being sent back home immediately from Durham. Also missing will be Avishka Fernando, who is ruled out with a grade two tear to his quadriceps. In their absence it will be interesting to see what team combination the Lankans go for in the opening ODI.
🚨Player Update🚨— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) June 27, 2021
Avishka Fernando has sustained an injury to his right quadriceps (Grade 2 Tear).
Fernando suffered this injury while fielding during the 2nd T20i played against England at Cardiff.#ENGvSL pic.twitter.com/mnVcVJgsiP
Remember the last time:
The two teams last clashed in a bilateral ODI series in 2018 in Sri Lanka. England ran out comfortable winners in a series that was marred by persistent rain. After a washout in the opening match, the visitors won the following three ODIs, to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. Sri Lanka got a consolation win under their belt in the final match, but for England, it was an important victory as they built up momentum ahead of the 2019 World Cup. Eoin Morgan starred with the bat, scoring 195 runs, while Akila Dananjaya was the pick of the bowlers, scalping up nine wickets for Sri Lanka.
What they said:
Eoin Morgan (England captain): "I think the most impressive thing has been our bowling, adapting to conditions. We've made some great strides in this series, and extremely proud. No let-up, any opportunity, the group of players give us different options."
Kusal Perera (Sri Lanka captain): "We knew it was going to be tough, but batting throughout the series not up to the mark. We aren't used to the pace and bounce, not executed well. The batsmen have to take responsibility and play to their strength."
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