Sri Lanka vs England, 4th ODI: Eoin Morgan’s side eye ninth successive series win
Eoin Morgan has played a leading role in both of England's wins on tour. @Getty

Eoin Morgan’s England  are a win away from wrapping up the series with a game to spare, and given how poor Sri Lanka have been so far in this rain-hit contest it is the visitors who are square favourites in Saturday’s fourth ODI at Pallekele.

Should they beat Sri Lanka to claim the series, it will be England’s ninth consecutive bilateral ODI series win (discounting the one-off ODI versus Scotland in June). Since they were beaten by India in January 2017, Morgan’s team has won series over West Indies (twice), Ireland, South Africa, Australia (twice), New Zealand and India and now lead Sri Lanka 2-0.

Both of England’s wins on tour have been highlighted by clinical batting efforts from central figures, which has been the difference between both sides amid the rain interruptions. In the second ODI, Joe Root and Morgan hit brisk fifties in a Duckworth/Lewis method win, and in the third game, which was reduced to 21-overs-per-side, it was again Morgan who steered the chase with Jason Roy and Ben Stokes hitting key cameos.

In comparison, Sri Lanka’s batting has been poor. In the second ODI they found themselves 31/4 chasing 172 in 29 overs and in the last ODI, Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Dinesh Chandimal made contrasting scores in the thirties while Kusal Mendis and Thisara Perera bagged ducks. No batsmen has managed a fifty yet.

More wet weather is in store at Pallekele, which makes using whatever playing time is possible all the more critical.

Dinesh Chandimal's last ODI fifty was in March 2017.
Dinesh Chandimal’s last ODI fifty was in March 2017. @Getty

Date: October 20

Venue: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

Time: 10:00 IST

Weather: Scattered thunderstorms

Team News

Sri Lanka 

The hosts have chopped and changed to no avail. Mendis slotted back into the XI after being a late replacement for Kusal Perera and bagged his third ODI duck in a row after two blobs in the Asia Cup, which saw him dropped for this series. Still, given the absence of options, he should get another game.

Probable XI: 1 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 2 Sadeera Samarawickraman, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (capt), 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Dasun Shanaka, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Akila Dananjaya, 9 Amila Aponso, 10 Nuwan Pradeep, 11 Lasith Malinga

England

A successful comeback for Tom Curran in the last ODI has heightened chances of his younger brother Sam getting a game to put the siblings together for the first time in England colours. In that scenario, Ollie Stone would sit out. Joe Denly has also landed in Kandy but is unlikely to get chance to play his first ODI since 2009.

Probable XI: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Sam Curran, 10 Tom Curran, 11 Adil Rashid

Kusal Mendis has gone 22 innings without an ODI fifty.
Kusal Mendis has gone 22 innings without an ODI fifty. @AFP

Statistics

– Mendis has now gone 22 innings without an ODI fifty, dating back to June 2017 during which time he has seven ducks.

– England have hit 14 sixes in the series as compared to six by Sri Lanka.

– Root needs 96 runs to get to 5000 in ODIs. If he does, he will be the fourth England batsman to do so.

Quotes

“In the last couple of matches we didn’t get a big partnership from the top order. That’s been happening for a while. When the top order scores, the middle order fails and vice versa. To get the optimal score, we need to click together.” – Niroshan Dickwella

“We bowled exceptionally well as a team. It came out nicely, I’ve been practising hard in the nets, and I’ve got a simple game plan.” – Adil Rashid