With the 2015 50-over World Cup getting ever closer England are in need of more
competitive ODIs to further develop their youthful and inexperienced looking side. With that in mind England have negotiated a seven-match one-day international series against Sri Lanka , starting at the end of November this year.
England will be mindful that they will need to gain as much practice as possible in this format of the game in order to find a winning formula that can give them every chance of glory when the World Cup starts in Australia and New Zealand in February next year. Compared to their sub-continent counterparts England play a lot less ODI cricket so this tour is vital to their development.
This return series against Sri Lanka will also give England an opportunity to avenge their narrow 3-2 series defeat this summer. Although defeated England will be able to point towards some success and it is by no means all doom and gloom in the ODI camp. Impressive performances from the likes of Chris Jordan and Jos Buttler will give England hope for the future but they will need to build on it.
England will travel to Sri Lanka to compete in two warm-up matches in Colombo before
they begin the seven ODIs on November 26th, again in Colombo. Initially both sides were looking to play just five ODIs and two T20s but common sense has prevailed as both sides require 50-over preparation more.
With no Test matches scheduled until April England can concentrate on ODI cricket
throughout the winter. With this in mind, and following their Sri Lanka tour, England will travel to Australia in January to take part in a triangular series alongside India and Australia themselves. They will then stay down under as they prepare for their opening game of the tournament against Australia in Melbourne on the 14th February.
England's group could prove to be a tough one. As well as Australia England will face tough matches against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, who they will be very familiar with by this point. Bangladesh, Scotland and Afghanistan make up the remaining group members and they will be looking to cause an upset or two along the way.
With the top four in each group qualifying for the quarter-finals England are expected to go through but they will need to improve over the winter if they are to finish above Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
England's tour to Sri Lanka has already attracted criticism for its timings. November and
December is generally the rainy season in the country so the threat of games being called-off is high. However, in order to combat this, the fixture scheduling has allowed for a reserve day in five of the seven games so giving the players every chance of game time.
England will need as much preparation as possible before the World Cup so will hope that their scheduling runs as smooth as possible between now and February next year as they bid to capture the World Cup.
England's full ODI tour to Sri Lanka itinerary
21 Nov: v Sri Lanka A, Colombo (SSC)
23 Nov: v Sri Lanka A, Colombo (P Sara Oval)
26 Nov: 1st ODI, Colombo (RPS) (d/n) *
29 Nov: 2nd ODI, Colombo (RPS) *
3 Dec: 3rd ODI, Hambantota (d/n)
6 Dec: 4th ODI, Colombo (RPS) *
10 Dec: 5th ODI, Pallekelle (d/n) *
13 Dec: 6th ODI, Pallekelle *
16 Dec: 7th ODI, Colombo (RPS) (d/n)
(*reserve day possible)
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