After being outplayed by an excellent bowling attack and the might of Jos Buttler in the first match, an inexperienced Sri Lanka will look to level the three-match T20I series against England with a win the second game at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Thursday.
Overall: Matches 10 | England 6 wins | Sri Lanka 4 wins
Last five matches: England 4 wins | Sri Lanka 1 win
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GROUND AND TEAM COMBINATION
Sophia Gardens has not hosted a single T20I since 2019. But, if we take a look at the numbers in T20s at the venue in the last two years, which are from the T20 blast, it is safe to assume that the fast bowlers have ruled the roost here.
In the eight T20 matches in Cardiff since 2020, the pacers have struck every 15.7 deliveries, 20.5 runs apart, while the corresponding numbers for the spinners are 21.5 and 25 respectively. However, the tweakers have a slightly better economy rate (7) compared to the pacers (7.8).
The slow nature of pitch in the first match had made batting difficult in the first innings with the spin of Liam Livingstone and Adil Rashid also working well for England. With second match set to be played the next day after the first match, the pitch is expected to get slower. Given the windy conditions and very little bounce, it is better to have three pacers and two spinners in your line-up.
Jason Roy was instrumental on a slow pitch in the first T20I with a blistering 36 off 22 balls which laid the foundation for a comfortable win for the hosts. The right-hander will look to taken on an inexperienced Sri Lankan bowling line-up once again on Thursday.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Roy will score 34-52 runs in this match.
Dasun Shanaka seemed like the only Lankan batsman to have read the conditions right as his 44-ball 50 took his team past the 100 mark. He looked comfortable playing text book shots with a lot of flair which Sri Lanka needs a lot in the second game.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Shanaka will score 14-22 runs in this match.
Jonny Bairstow didn't get a lot of time to bat in the first match, but will be looking forward for a big score against a transitioning side like Sri Lanka as England will look to wrap up the T20I series. His prowess against spin bowling is an added advantage to pick him.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Bairstow will score 43-65 runs in this match.
Dushmantha Chameera was a revelation in the recent ODI series against Bangladesh where he claimed nine wickets in three matches, including a fifer. He can be a true match-winner with his ominous swing and express pace even on a flat track like the one at Cardiff.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Chameera will pick up 2-3 wickets in this match.