Sri Lanka vs. England: Head-to-Head Record and Key Players in 2014 ODI Series

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Sri Lanka vs. England: Head-to-Head Record and Key Players in 2014 ODI Series
Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press
Countdown to the World - England players prepare for their ODI test series with Sri Lanka

Nothing splits the head-to-head record of England and Sri Lanka as the two nations embark on a seven-match series, starting on Wednesday.

Each nation has won 28 games from 56 played since Feb. 13, 1982. Sri Lanka hold the edge though, having won the two most recent meetings earlier this summer.

Sri Lanka vs. India Head-to-Head ODI Record
Wins Losses
Sri Lanka 28 28
England 28 28
Total 56 56

Cricinfo

Both teams have suffered a worrying lack of form lately with Sri Lanka falling to their worst ever ODI whitewash against India earlier this month.

England, meanwhile, are still recovering from the fallout from Kevin Pietersen's controversial book, which overshadowed their recent ODI losses to the same nation. The nine-wicket margin of victory for India that clinched the five-match series in September resulted in the captaincy of Alastair Cook being called into question again, per Jonathan Agnew of BBC Sport.  

The current series between England and Sri Lanka represents a big chance for players to make their case for selection ahead of the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews believes his attacking options are yet to be finalised before that date in February.  

Poor weather provided a delay to the start of Wednesday's clash:

For England much will hang on the experience of their batsmen. Cook, Moeen Ali and Ian Bell, are a particularly capable threesome, and Ali is already showing star quality with a stand-out 56 against Sri Lanka A on Friday. 

The inclusion of 32-year-old Sri Lanka batsman Thilina Kandamby after three years in the international wilderness started with a duck against an England XI on Friday. His full recall for the first ODI failed to follow.

Key Players 

Alastair Cook

The much-maligned captain will face further scrutiny of his position if he doesn't lead with distinction over the next month. Cook will need to excel as a world-class opening batsman and make up for a less than impressive ODI record this term. From 14 appearances this year, he has served to produce an average of 31 when at the crease, per Cricinfo.

The backing he recently received from national selector James Whitaker, per Alan Tyers of the Telegraph, has suggested those in higher authority see no cause for a captaincy debate pre-World Cup, but British media are likely to take a dimmer view in the event of an England series loss.  

Ian Bell 

After almost 10 years since his first England century, Bell is closing in on his 5,000th run. Should he do it here, a World Cup place is sure to follow. Whether he opens or comes in at No. 3 in the batting order, Bell can afford to play the type of aggressive cricket he has become known for in the 50-over game. 

His class is not matched by many currently in the England fold.

Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press
Ian Bell is set for a crucial batting role in England's ODI series with Sri Lanka

Moeen Ali 

Having already justified his selection by virtue of his Friday innings, Ali has to come of age with consistent performances. Five ODI innings this year have demonstrated Ali's potential, with high scores of 55 against the West Indies and a particularly impressive 67 against India in September. 

 

Thilina Kandamby 

The left hander is back in the reckoning and hoping for an opportunity to catch the eye of selectors. His international career has suffered from being regularly left out of ODI teams. Bettering his best innings of 93 for his country would represent a successful campaign.  

Tim Hales/Associated Press
Thilina Kandamby in action against England (July 2014)

Sri Lanka start as favourites for the ODI series and rightly so. England are not in any type of World Cup winning form under Cook, and this series could prove pivotal in his long-term prospects as captain of the one-day side.

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