Sri Lanka v England: Jos Buttler says tourists relish favourites tag

Jos Buttler in action against Dinesh Chandimal

First ODI: Sri Lanka v England
Venue: Dambulla Date: 10 October Time: 10:00 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary and The Cricket Social programme on the BBC Sport website and app. Full details here

England’s one-day team are relishing their favourites tag going into the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, says Jos Buttler.

Eoin Morgan’s side are ranked number one in the world, with Sri Lanka eighth, just seven months away from a World Cup on home soil.

“I think the guys enjoy the pressure of being the number one side and people wanting to beat us,” said Buttler.

“We like being favourites, it means we’re doing something right.”

Stone set for England debut

Warwickshire paceman Olly Stone could make his full England debut in Dambulla having featured in last week’s warm-up win over a Sri Lankan Board XI.

All-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes are certain to take two of the seamer slots with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid inked in as spinners.

That leaves two more positions with Stone, Mark Wood, the Curran brothers – Tom and Sam – and third-choice spinner Liam Dawson the contenders.

Wicketkeeper Buttler said: “Olly’s hitting the gloves hard, I thought he was impressive [in the tour match].

“The guys facing him in the nets said it wasn’t that enjoyable. He’s obviously had a great season and come back really well from injury. I think he is a really exciting prospect.”

‘We have to adapt to conditions’

England have not lost a two-team one-day series since January 2017.

That was against India, on the type of sub-continental pitches which will be facing them in Sri Lanka.

England were beaten 3-2 in their last 50-over tour of the country, but Buttler is anticipating a different outcome this time.

“We have been trying to adapt our playing style to all conditions, and still we are trying to push the boundaries of what is capable on any given day,” the Lancashire wicketkeeper said.

Sri Lanka enter the series on the back of a disappointing showing in the Asia Cup, which led to them replacing captain Angelo Mathews with Dinesh Chandimal.

“We know England are the number one side in the world at the moment – they are playing really well, they have got some really good players,” said Chandimal.

“They have got all the experience and talent and we have to compete with them.”

The five-match one-day series is followed by a solitary Twenty20, and three Tests starting on 6 November.

England the team to beat?

England begin the series as the top-ranked one-day side in the world, having won 38 of their past 50 completed matches.

Graphic showing England's win percentage of 76% in completed ODIs since June 2016

The series in Sri Lanka is one of only three they have left before the World Cup on home soil next summer.

That amounts to 15 matches, including five in West Indies in February/March and five against Pakistan in May.

Although England have not lost to Sri Lanka in their past four ODIs – all of which were in England – Sri Lanka have won seven of their past nine contests between the sides at home.

How can you follow the action?

Stars of Test Match Special will present a new, interactive cricket show during this tour.

The Cricket Social will be streamed on the BBC Sport website and app and will feature Jonathan Agnew, Michael Vaughan, James Anderson, Ebony Rainford-Brent, Phil Tufnell and Andy Zaltzman.

The show will complement the live text service on the BBC Sport website and app and will allow fans to get directly involved with the coverage.

There will also be live updates from reporters at the matches in Sri Lanka on BBC Radio 5 live and other outlets and the day’s action will be rounded up in the definitive TMS podcast with cricket correspondent Agnew and former England captain Vaughan.

The squads

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Upul Tharanga, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha.

England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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