ENG vs SL 2nd ODI: All is not well with Kusal Perera led Sri Lankan side. After suffering a 0-3 loss in the T20I series, Sri Lanka, a team in transition, went down cheaply in the 1st ODI in Durham. Eoin Morgan’s side did well to eke out a five-wicket win with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow shining. For Perera, they have been dealt a blow with three first-team players suspended due to a COVID rules breach. They are now desperate for a win in the 2nd ODI at the Kennington Oval, London on Thursday.
The performance from Sri Lanka was again lacklustre. Sri Lanka were down to 46/3 within 9th over. Captain Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga did all they could to stop the slide with a 99-run partnership, smashing a half-century each, taking Sri Lanka to 145/4. But the collapse began once again, and Sri Lanka could only post a 186-run target. With Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root firing, England cruised to a five-wicket victory.
ENG vs SL 2nd ODI: But Sri Lanka need to change things fast to have any hopes of levelling the series and take it down to the wire. InsideSport takes a look at five things Kusal Perera’s side needs to do to get back on track and level the series.
Opening woes: So far in the England series including T20Is, Sri Lanka haven’t had a good start. The highest opening partnership so far has been 23, in the 1st ODI. In the T20I series, they put up 3, 6 and 4. Without a good start, the pressure will be on an inexperienced middle-order who has crumbled under pressure. Kusal Perera was the highlight in the 1st ODI and as he has opted to open, he needs to provide a good start.
ENG vs SL 2nd ODI: Middle-order: The inexperienced middle order is another problem that the team is facing. While Wanindu Hasaranga did well with a half-century when promoted to No 5 in the 1st ODI, the others have disappointed so far. Dhananjaya Lakshan, Dasun Shanaka, Ramesh Tarinda Mendis all have been abysmal the entire tour. The highest score amongst them is Shanaka at 50. The rest are yet to have any meaningful contribution.
ENG vs SL 2nd ODI: Discipline: The team has been rattled after three players were sent home for breaching COVID-19 rules in Durham. Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and Niroshan Dickwella have been suspended and their night-out has jolted the team. Now, all the eyes will be on Lankan cricketers and their every step will be closely scrutinized.
Batting: Overall, batting has been the main problem for Sri Lankan team. So far, Kusal Perera is the highest scorer with 127 runs in four matches but he too hasn’t been consistent. The other inexperienced batters have disappointed on the tour. If they wish to level the series, they need to pull up their socks and do well.
ENG vs SL 2nd ODI: Bowling: The other area of improvement is bowling. Dushmantha Chameera is the only Lankan bowler to have impressed but hasn’t got enough support from the others. Wanindu Hasaranga did well in the 1st ODI but did not get any wickets. Against such a strong England batting lineup, bowlers must bring their A-game to keep Sri Lanka’s hopes alive.
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