We are four limited overs games down, and we do not have a winner yet. What this means is that when the two teams take the field at Old Trafford, the series is up for grabs in what is now a virtual final. England seem to have the momentum as a result of their comprehensive win at Trent Bridge , while Sri Lanka have had a couple of days to ponder on why they were beaten so soundly.
In the English camp, all eyes are on Stuart Broad, despite him picking up his first two wickets of the series. He has the backing of his skipper Alastair Cook, but a bruised heel picked up in training may just cause his omission from the team. He will most likely be replaced by Samit Patel, as the newly rotated Old Trafford pitch has provided plenty of assistance to the Lancashire spinners, this county season. At the top of the order, Cook has got two big scores, while Kieswetter has started to regain his touch. Pietersen and Morgan have looked fluent in the middle, but they are still looking for that one big score.
Sri Lanka have more problems coming into the game as Suranga Lakmal is ruled out. This means that either seamer Dammika Prasad or all rounder Thissara Perera might get a go. Vice-captain Thilina Kandamby may also face the axe and in all likelihood, opener Dimuth Karunaratne might take his place. In that case, Mahela Jayawerdene could drop down to his customary No.4 slot. Captain Tillekeratne Dilshan started his tour with three hundreds in four games but has found the going a lot tougher since he suffered a broken thumb at Lord’s. 13 runs in four outings is hardly a return, which also suggests that he might be due for a big one.
The nature of the surface and the weather will also play a major role in deciding the outcome of the series. The traditional pace and bouncy Old Trafford wicket has been replaced by a pitch with turn and low bounce. England will be hoping that the weather stays cold and dank like it was on Friday, but the predictions are for sunny and clear weather which could play right into the visitors’ hands. It is going to be a fitting finale to an entertaining ODI series, as both teams would want to end on a winning note.