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England’s Predicted XI vs Sri Lanka, Cricket World Cup 2023: Will Jonny Bairstow Retain His Place?

The M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru is all set for a terrific contest, as England take on Sri Lanka in match no. 25 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 on Thursday, October 26. Sri Lanka and England have suffered a similar fate in the tournament until this point. Both teams have picked up only one victory so far and put themselves far away from contention for a place in the knockout stages. However, with plenty of other results working out favourably, they still are within touching distance of that fourth spot.

England’s predicaments have been clear from the opening match of the tournament, where they were hammered across every department by New Zealand. Their campaign seemed to have resurrected after a thumping win against Bangladesh, but it only started to fall further apart.

A clinical all-round display from Afghanistan resulted in their second defeat of the tournament and in their previous match in Mumbai, they were annihilated by South Africa. Heinrich Klaasen’s blazing century took the Proteas to 399/7, the highest total against England. In response, England were bowled out for 170 runs in 22 overs, handing England their biggest-ever defeat in ODI cricket (by 229 runs).

Jos Buttler and co have a huge task cut out heading into this match, as a defeat here could further complicate their ambitions of defending the title, to the extent it might be considered impossible.

Openers: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan

Jonny Bairstow’s struggles in the tournament have been more evident now than before. However, he is one of the few batters in the English team who is experienced with Indian conditions and Jos Buttler might continue to play him in the XI.

Dawid Malan smashed a century against Bangladesh and is one of England’s most consistent white-ball cricketers. Malan has scored 192 runs in four matches of the ongoing World Cup.

Middle order: Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes

Harry Brook, who was picked ahead of Jason Roy in the World Cup squad, picked up his first half-century against Afghanistan. His valiant effort, however, wasn’t enough to take England over the line. Joe Root scored 172 runs in four matches, which includes two half-centuries and is well-versed with the Indian conditions.

Ben Stokes, England’s hero in the 2019 ICC World Cup, returned to the playing XI after recovering from a hip injury. However, his contribution might continue to be restricted only with the bat. Despite not getting going in the ongoing tournament, skipper Jos Buttler has had a terrific 2023, scoring 635 runs in 14 innings at an average of 48.84. The great batting conditions in Chinnaswamy might spark his resurgence.

All-rounders: Chris Woakes, David Willey, Sam Curran

Chris Woakes might return to the playing XI to accommodate the absence of Reece Topley. A capable batter as well, Woakes can contribute in multiple ways on his day, but so far in the tournament, he has struggled to get his bowling channels right, picking up only two wickets in three matches.

Sam Curran is another very capable all-rounder with great experience of playing in Indian conditions. His left-arm pace has not been very effective up the order, but he can be lethal if he gets some swing. In three matches, he has scored only 35 runs and picked up two wickets. David Willey, who played his first match of the tournament against South Africa is likely to keep his place.

Bowlers: Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

A lot of the wicket-taking pressure falls on Adil Rashid, who is a proven star with the white ball and so far, his performances have been up to the mark. He picked up six wickets in four matches, however, he isn’t getting the required support from his fellow bowlers. He has excelled in batter-friendly conditions over the last few years and in Bengaluru, his experience in trapping batters will be pivotal.

The new ball responsibilities fall solely on Mark Wood, who has picked up three wickets in four matches, in the company of an out-of-form Chris Woakes. Sam Curran and David Willey have taken up the new ball in the past as well and we might see Buttler shuffling his fast-bowling options early on in the powerplay.

England’s probable playing XI: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Harry Brook, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Gus Atkinson, Mark Wood

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