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Monday, 27 June 2011

England vs Sri Lanka ODI Series

Tuesday sees the start of the ODI series between England and Sri Lanka and gives us several betting angles to take on the series as a whole.

Although England won the recent rain affected Test series 1-0 that is likely to have less relevance than Saturday’s pointer in the T20 at Bristol which proves a slightly better indicator when it comes to the 50 over format. There Sri Lanka easily prevailed in a 9 wicket thumping and have had similar success in the past with a 10 wicket win in the recent World Cup quarter final and a 5-0 ODI series win when last in England.

Sri Lanka also have the individuals to make a difference with two top 10 ICC ranked batsmen (Dilshan and Sangakkara, 3rd & 5th respectively) versus England who just having the impressive Jonathan Trott in 8th. Although Graeme Swann (ranked 4th in World) is probably the outstanding bowler in the match up, in terms of strength in depth Sri Lanka again have the edge with Mendis and Kulasekara ranked 9th & 10th plus arguably their best bowler Malinga not even in the top 10. Whereas England’s bowlers behind Swann either lack consistency, fitness or current form and could struggle to take enough wickets to put the Sri Lankans under real pressure.

It therefore seems that we have a betting mismatch, England do have home advantage but if this were a neutral ground series we would expect to see Sri Lanka as slight favourites, therefore playing at home should shift this closer to 50/50. Instead current best odds are showing England as 8/11 favourites and Sri Lanka at 6/4, therefore take advantage and side with Sri Lanka from a pure value perspective.

Other popular markets are the Top Batsman and Bowler and there are some decent bets to be had here too.

Malinga ‘the Slinga’ is coming off taking the most wickets in a single IPL season and has retired from Test cricket which means he should be coming here fresher than some others. With previous form against England (13 wickets in last series) he should outperform the rest of the efficient although not spectacular bowling unit. Another advantage is that he bowls at the death and in the batting power plays leading to potential cheap wickets – 15/8 is available as top Sri Lankan bowler.

The Top England Batsman market is arguably a tight affair with a strong batting line up in reasonable form; arguments can be made for all of the frontrunners. Alistair Cook is arguably England’s best Test batsman with an excellent Ashes series behind him but there are still questions surrounding his ability to score quickly enough for the one day game and has the added burden of captaincy to carry. Batting lower down the order harms Bell’s and Morgan’s chances of being able to kick on with larger scores and Ian Bell seems to have a particular problem in converting opportunities into centuries (18 ODI 50s but just 1 ton plus). Kevin Pietersen is a mercurial talent and can rattle off quick scores and once in form tends to be red hot, if he gets going he could easily outscore the other runners by a margin. Jonathan Trott is machine-like in any form of the cricket with 11 50s in just 25 ODIs and a batting average of 55.65 versus Pietersen’s 40.98. Both are priced up similarly with Pietersen at a general best price of 4/1 and Trott available at Stan James at 9/2. Trott is available as short as 100/30 joint favourite in some places and the 9/2 is too tempting to miss out on.

Finally it should be noted that with a comprehensive 4-1 series win (or better) Sri Lanka have the opportunity to move 2nd in the ICC ODI rankings. Both the 4-1 and 5-0 series wins are worth small wagers with the whitewash available at best price of 33/1 and the 4-1 at 11/2.


Series Outright: Sri Lanka 6/4 (Sportingbet & Victor Chandler)
Top Sri Lankan Series Bowler: Lasith Malinga 15/8 (Sportingbet)
Top England Series Batsman: Jonathan Trott 9/2 (Stan James)
Sri Lanka to win series 4-1 at 11/2 (Bet365 & Coral)
Sri Lanka to win series 5-0 at 33/1 (Victor Chandler & Boylesports)


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