It’s five months since Joe Root’s men last played a five-day game and there will undoubtedly be some rustiness over the first couple of days in the first Test against Sri Lanka.
In contrast, the hosts go into this series off the back of a tour of South Africa and will look to take advantage of that with a quick start, with the hosts
21/10 to win the first Test.
Bess and Leach Need to Shine
England have already stated that Moeen Ali will not play in the opening Test, as the Worcestershire ace continues to self-isolate having tested positive for coronavirus.
It means the selectors will have to decide whether they go with Dom Bess or Jack Leach, or maybe both, as they seek the best solution on what is likely to be a turning pitch. Both spinners are
11/4 to be England’s Top 1st Innings Bowler.
Coach Chris Silverwood has also revealed that the tourists have the option of calling up a third frontline spinner – with Amar Virdi, Mason Crane and Matthew Parkinson possible additions.
The spinner decision will obviously have an impact on the rest of the bowling attack, with England still waiting for further news on the fitness of Chris Woakes.
With Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes rested, Silverwood will be keen for an all-rounder option and Wokaes would fit that bill – working as the third seamer alongside James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Lawrence in Line for England Chance
Essex batsman Dan Lawrence is being tipped to make his international debut in the first Test, as the England selectors look at all their options ahead of the Ashes later this year.
The 23-year-old has nearly 4,000 runs to his name in 74 first-class matches, at an average of 37.96, and featured for the England Lions in their win over Australia A down under.
With Stokes, Ollie Pope and Rory Burns all absent, it gives some the chance to stake a claim and others an opportunity to win back their place in the Test squad.
One of those batsmen seeking redemption is Jonny Bairstow, who claimed the last of his six Test centuries against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2018. The Yorkshireman is
7/2 to be England’s top first innings batsman.
Hosts Look for Quick Response
Sri Lanka maybe better prepared for the first Test but they go into the series following a 2-0 defeat in South Africa and having won just two of their last nine Test series’.
The last time the two sides met in Sri Lanka was back in 2018, when England completed a whitewash, with a 3-0 series victory including a crushing 211-run win in Galle.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne –
10/3 to be Sri Lanka’s Top 1st innings batsman – smashed a century in the second Test in South Africa, while Vishwa Fernando took nine wickets across the two Tests.
But it’s their spin bowlers who are likely to be the key to potential success against England, with experience Dilruwan Perera one of those who could have a big impact – the 38-year-old is
12/1 to be named Man of the Match.
*All odds correct at time of writing