While the visitors have been a force to reckon with in the 50-over format, their 20-over form has been patchy, to say the least. They have lost six of their last nine T20Is - a record they would desperately hope to improve.
Spin was always going to be a huge factor in England's tour to Sri Lanka and while they seemed to have done their homework well in this regard, the final ODI at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo where Akila Dananjaya rattled them with a four-wicket haul would have come as a sound warning. The fact that the T20I will also be staged at the same ground is bound to give the hosts confidence.
Dananjaya is almost certain to be a part of the Playing XI for the 20-over game while Sri Lanka have also included Kamindu Mendis, an ambidextrous spinner, to bolster the bowling unit. Dhananjaya de Silva and Lakshan Sandakan are the other spin options in the side.
Sri Lanka's fast bowling department for a change is in form with the likes of Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera and Kasun Rajitha giving a good account of themselves in the recently concluded ODI series. Malinga picked up a five-wicket haul in the second ODI and Thisara Perera, who is leading the side will expect a similar effort from the veteran pacer come the T20I.
While the bowling looks largely sorted, Sri Lanka's batting unit still remains a cause of concern. Barring the last ODI, the batting has looked fragile with the hosts often losing wickets in a heap, something they just cannot afford in the 20-over format. The onus will once again be on the likes of Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Perera to try and take the side to a respectable total.
England, on the other hand, boast of a well-balanced outfit. In Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Chris Woakes and Tom Curran they have an excellent pace attack while Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid having handled the spin duties well in the ODI series will be keen on continuing with the same.
Jordan, who has made a name for himself in the shortest format of the game has been brought in for the lone T20I and he will be looking to make a good impression in the only chance he has been given.
"Any time you get the opportunity to be involved with this amazing squad is something you look forward to. Any chance to put on the England shirt you have to grab it with both hands, whether it's one game or 10 games. That's part and parcel of being a professional," said Jordan ahead of the game.
In the batting department, Eoin Morgan, who missed the last ODI will be back and will hope that the likes of Jason Roy and Alex Hales too fire. Jonny Bairstow's injury might pave for Joe Denly, who did not get a chance in the ODI series. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler will once again be in charge of proving the late flourishes.
Rain has been a regular feature in the series so far and the theme is likely to remain the same on Saturday as well. The grounds in Sri Lanka though have a good drainage system which should allow a decent amount of cricket.
England (From): Jason Roy, Jos Buttler(w), Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan(c), Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Olly Stone, Mark Wood
Sri Lanka (From): Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera(c), Akila Dananjaya, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Kamindu Mendis, Kasun Rajitha
Akila Dananjayachris jordanEnglandKamindu Mendissri lankaSri Lanka vs Englandsri lanka vs england 2018
First Published: October 27, 2018, 7:00 AM IST