Spin set to be key as England face must-win Sri Lanka clash

Ross McLean
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BATSMAN Joe Root is adamant the England hierarchy will resist the temptation to continue with a policy of experimentation during their must-win fifth one-day international (ODI) against Sri Lanka today.

The tourists trail 3-1 in the seven-match tour which means defeat in Pallekele will give Sri Lanka an unassailable lead and consign England to their sixth defeat from seven ODI series against Test-playing nations.

Off-spinner James Tredwell was omitted from the England team for their six-wicket defeat in Colombo on Sunday in favour of three seam-bowling all-rounders in the shape of Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes, a policy Root believes will not be repeated.

“No [experimentation], we want to win the series,” said Root. “This sort of pressure is good practice for a World Cup. Preparing for that, this is as close as we can get.

“If we can get level going into that last game, it’s going to be a great finish.

“Now’s the time for us to step up and start putting in performances, and this is a great opportunity for us to do that under pressure before the World Cup.”

Skipper Alastair Cook is set to return after serving a one-match suspension following England’s slow over-rate in Hambantota , while Sri Lanka have called up the previously banned Sachithra Senanayake after his bowling action was yesterday cleared by the International Cricket Council.

The off-spinner, who has 40 ODI wickets, infamously ran out Jos Buttler while the Lancashire wicketkeeper was backing up at Edgbaston in the summer, and replaces fellow slow bowler Rangana Herath who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.