Preview – England begin as overwhelming favorites against fragile Sri Lanka
England and Sri Lanka have had contrasting beginnings in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. At the time of writing, England had registered a comprehensive 104-run win in their first match against South Africa. Thereby, firmly announcing themselves as the firm favorites for the tournament. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were thumped by 10-wickets by New Zealand in their first World Cup 2019 match. It was a poor performance and exposed the vulnerability in their batting badly.
Hence, England will begin as overwhelming favorites for this ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against Sri Lanka at Headingley.
England has been doing well in all departments, but their batting is their strongest point. England’s batting unit is the best in the tournament by some distance. Captain Eoin Morgan is in fine form and scored a fluent 57 in the World Cup opener against South Africa. Joe Root (51) and Ben Stokes (89) too got the fifties. Jonny Bairstow was out without scoring and would like to assert himself at the top. Jos Buttler down the order will be eager to destroy Sri Lanka’s bowling.
England’s bowling has a lot of options too. Chris Woakes is dependable. Jofra Archer, playing his maiden World Cup, was very impressive in his first match against South Africa where he picked up three wickets. He has pace and can swing the ball and will thus be the biggest weapon against Sri Lanka’s batting. The leg-spin of Adil Rashid will be handy in the middle overs. And Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes would help contain as well.
Sri Lanka’s batting was miserable against New Zealand in their first World Cup game. Barring Dimuth Karunaratne (52) everyone else failed. Hence, the likes of Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, along with the experienced duo of Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera would have to do a much better job against England. If the conditions are overcast, then the batsmen might struggle.
Sri Lanka’s bowling has variety, but against the might of the England batting, they would have to bring out something special. The old stalwart Lasith Malinga will be leading the charge. But Suranga Lakmal will have to give him reliable support and find consistent lengths. The leg-spin of Jeevan Mendis might be useful if the pitch grips.
Pitch Condition and England vs Sri Lanka Prediction:
The pitch at Headingley, Leeds, is conducive to batting but it does help the bowlers too. The highest total on this venue – 351-9 by England against Pakistan – was scored in May 2019. So we can expect another high-scoring match on the cards.
However, in the first 15 overs, the ball does move around, and at times the ball begins to stop towards the end. The seamers hence could come into play. The team batting first should get more than 300. However, looking at the fragile Sri Lankan batting unit, it seems unlikely that they will be able to post or chase anything over 300. England’s all-around class, batting strength, and form make them clear favorites for this encounter.