T20I preview: England v Sri Lanka

England

The sides are playing just the one T20, but it's bound to be a cracker if the weather plays along, with Ravi Bopara promising to exploit the 'huge gap' left in the middle order thanks to Sangwardene's retirement.

It's rather strange to see a Sri Lanka side that doesn't feature either Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela Jayawardene, but that is what England will encounter when they face the World Twenty20 champions at The Oval on Tuesday.

The sides are playing just the one T20, but it's bound to be a cracker if the weather plays along, with Ravi Bopara promising to exploit the 'huge gap' left in the middle order thanks to Sangwardene's retirement.

The duo wrapped up their T20 careers with the WT20 title in March, while England were beyond abject in that tournament, dropping out during the group stage and losing to Holland. But has the 'new era' begun?

When new England coach Peter Moores announced his squad and called up veterans Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan and Michael Carberry, there were murmurs of, 'New era? Doesn't look like it…' but aside from Bresnan, the calls are solid actually.

Carberry was the best white ball player in England last season, while Bell's experience will prove helpful to Eoin Morgan, who will captain the side in the absence of the still-injured Stuart Broad. Bresnan though… baffling.

The opening pairing has been broken, in another notable change. While Alex Hales is there, after almost single-handedly beating Sri Lanka at the WT20 (the one game England won, ironically), Michael Lumb is not. Carberry and Hales to open, it seems.

The bowling attack is changed too, with Moores finally doing what Ashley Giles couldn't by dropping Jade Dernbach. The wayward paceman's exit means Harry Gurney could get a game, though England's death bowling was dire overall in Bangladesh.

As for the visitors, they'll be captained by Lasith Malinga after his efforts in Bangladesh saw them lift the trophy. He'd been playing in the IPL until a few days ago, so it well warmed up for the format. Dinesh Chandimal is in the squad, mind you.

As for who will replace the mighty pairing previously mentioned, new coach Marvan Atapattu has called up batsmen Kithuruwan Vithanage and Ashan Priyanjan, while Tillakaratne Dilshan still provides oodles of experience.

Sri Lanka have only played two T20s in England, and won both of them. They, unlike England, have a death overs specialist in Malinga, who knows the value of a yorker, and have the mystery spin of Ajantha Mendis to rely on.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, they will look to new star Chris Jordan with both bat and ball. He was their best player in the Caribbean earlier this year, and has done well for Sussex, so he will have all eyes on him for a cameo knock and a wicket or three.

Sri Lanka will be looking to their skipper, as they are wont to do, for inspiration. Malinga is the best death bowler in the world for a reason, and England's batsmen will need to be in top form to keep his slingy toe crushers away from the stumps.

<b>Last five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2006: Sri Lanka won by two runs in Southampton<br>2010, WT20 SF: England won by seven wickets at Gros Islet<br>2011: Sri Lanka won by nine wickets in Bristol<br>2012, WT20 group: Sri Lanka won by 19 runs in Pallekele<br>2014, WT20 group: England won by six wickets in Chittagong

<b>Squads</b><br><i>Sri Lanka:</i> Lasith Malinga (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ashan Priyanjan, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ajantha Mendis

<i>England:</i> Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Michael Carberry, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes

<b>Fixture</b><br>Only T20: 20 May – The Oval, London

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