It’s right to say that England are one of the weakest teams going into the World Cup 2015. Their ODI record this year has been pathetic. They have played a total of 21 ODIs till now and have lost 14 of them. Most of the wins in the 7 have been inconsequential. Their line-up has never looked settled. Alastair Cook has become a liability to this team and the talent of Ben Stokes has been wasted to the core.

On the other hand, apart from the Indian tour, Sri Lanka have performed reasonably well in ODIs this year. In this series also, they have played well as a unit and their team for the World Cup, especially the batting order has been more or less finalized. With 3-1 up in the series, Sri Lanka will look to lock the series on December 10th with another strong performance.

It will be fair to say that Sri Lanka have been quite ruthless in this series. They have left no stone unturned. They have exploited England batsmen’s weakness against spin to the fullest. In the 3rd ODI, the trio of Dilshan, Herath and Ajantha Mendis took 9 England wickets. The only batsmen to get out to pace was Alex Hales. This is a very shameful stat for England.

In batting, their top-order hasn’t performed that consistently but the middle-order has been magnificent. Lahiru Thirimanne has come to terms quite brilliantly and has made himself a reliable number six batsman. Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardne and Angelo Mathews are in splendid form and England will have to do something really special to stop them.

Rangana Herath has been ruled out of the remaining ODIs due to injury. Sachitra Senanayake, who has been cleared of suspect action, replaces Herath for the next two ODIs. 

On the other hand, much has been said about England above and in the past too. They have failed to perform as a unit and more importantly, they have to failed to make a settled unit. With due respect to Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, England really needs some fresh blood till and for the World Cup. The likes of James Taylor and Alex Hales should be played each and every game so that they can go into the World Cup with confidence. 

ECB isn’t going to sack Cook as the captain till the World Cup, but Cook should think for the welfare of the team and step back. Ben Stokes is also becoming a liability to the team and if England can’t use him as a genuine bowler or a batsman, then they should play someone in place of him who can atleast deliver in their respective department. 

Their bowling also lacks the fire-power to take wickets and if they have to stay alive in the series, Finn, Woakes, Jordan and Tredwell (if included) will have to do something out of the box to get some confidence ahead of the World Cup. 

Probable Playing XI for Sri Lanka:

Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardne, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Sachitra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis

Probable Playing XI for England:

Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, James Taylor, Joe Root, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes, Steven Finn, James Tredwell

Venue: Pallekele

Time 14:30 (IST)

Image Courtesy: crichotline