England and Sri Lanka face one-day decider at Edgbaston
With the score locked at 2-2 following the tourists’ dramatic seven-run victory at Lord’s on Saturday, there is all to play for in the finale.
For England, victory would get their new era, following the jettisoning of star batsman Kevin Pietersen and appointment of Peter Moores for a second stint as head coach, off to a perfect start.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are delighted to be heading to the last act with any hope of triumphing in the rubber following Jos Buttler’s remarkable century in the fourth ODI.
Coming to the crease with England 111 for five in pursuit of 301 and some way short of the required run rate, Buttler proceeded to hit a stunning 74-ball 121 before being run out in the final over as England came up just short of a memorable win.
While Saturday ultimately ended in disappointment, skipper Alastair Cook afterwards claimed his side could take great heart from their showing.
He said: “I can’t fault the commitment of the lads and we’ll have a one-off game now to decide the series.
“We’re disappointed to be on the losing side but we’ll go to Edgbaston confident.”
Sri Lanka, who lost a decider at Old Trafford the last time they met England in ODIs on these shores, were indebted to Lasith Malinga’s death-bowling magic as they took the series to a final game.
But while the slingy seamer’s place in the XI is assured, the tourists do face some selection headaches.
With overcast conditions forecast, it seems Ajantha Mendis’ return to the side may prove a one-off.
One man who should retain his place, however, is Kusal Perera, after he added some much-needed impetus at the top of the order last time out.
England seem likely to resist the urge to strengthen a bowling attack lacking a fifth frontline option by naming an unchanged XI.
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