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Stokes to step up for England

Stokes to step up for England

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Everything appears to be perfectly set up for England to wrap up a series victory by claiming victory in the second Test of three against Sri Lanka in Pallekele from Wednesday.

The hosts were routed by 211 runs in the series opener in Galle and will now be without Ranaga Herath (retirement) and Dinesh Chandimal (injury) for the second match.

England to win second Test @ 21/20

With that in mind it is hard to make a case for the Islanders to win although at 43/20 you might be tempted to part with a small wager – just in case England resort to their usual pattern of performance in Asian conditions.

However, even at 21/20 you simply have to fancy the Three Lions to do the business, while the draw at 13/5 could come into play if the weather intervenes.

Top Team Batsman – Stokes @ 23/4

The tourists have named an unchanged XI for the action in Kandy despite the temptation to hand a recall to fit-again Jonny Bairstow.

However, a change in the batting order is a certainty, with Moeen Ali shifted back down the order from number three, with fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes poised to go in at first drop.

Since his return to the side last summer, Stokes has found runs a little hard to come by although added responsibility may just be what he needs given the left-hander does possess plenty of technical qualities to go with the aggressive, attacking style.

A decent back-up at 19/4 has to be opener Keaton Jennings, who made 46 and 146 not out in Galle to end talk of his place being under threat.

Top Team Bowler – Lakmal @ 15/4

With Chandimal out of the side, the captaincy has passed to seamer Suranga Lakmal who already had plenty of responsibility on his shoulders.

However, having made 50 Test appearances, the 31-year-old can be expected to cope and he showed plenty of heart and skill on an unresponsive surface in Galle to take 3-73 in England’s first innings.

Should you want to stick with the man in form, off-spinner Dilruwan Perera, who took seven wickers in the first Test, is priced at 39/20.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.