England outsiders for first Test despite shading opening day
Two late wickets may have given England the slender edge on the opening day of the second Test with Sri Lanka, but they still remain the outsiders to level the series at 13/8.
England will not need much encouragement to triumph as a 2-0 series defeat will see them lose their status at the head of the Test rankings.
Another century from Mahela Jayawardene is not a big help to their chances, but his late wicket and that of brother Prasanna has left the hosts on 238-6 on a slow day where it quickly turned into a war of attrition.
The onus will now be on England’s bowlers to finish the job and limit Sri Lanka to certainly nothing more than 300, although something around the 270 mark will be their target.
England made two bowling changes with Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan both recalled and they may be able to take advantage of a ball that is still relatively new in the opening session of day two.
With Bresnan owning a perfect record of ten wins from as many Tests for England, he may especially want to make an impact.
England’s batsmen will then be thrust into action, with concentration and patience looking the two necessary ingredients to chasing down Sri Lanka’s first innings total.
These were both largely absent in the first Test, aside from Jonathan Trott’s stubborn century in the second innings and therefore he may be most likely to contribute again.
Trott likes nothing more than a grind and he is 7/2 to top score for England in their first innings, which is the same price as Alastair Cook.
Ian Bell was England’s top scorer in the first innings of the first Test and he is 5/1 to repeat this feat.