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Sport Big guns return and Redfern makes history – 5 England v Sri Lanka talking points

22:02  22 june  2021
22:02  22 june  2021 Source:   cricket365.com

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England start their limited-overs summer schedule in Cardiff on Wednesday evening with the first of three Twenty20s against Sri Lanka.

Eoin Morgan standing on a baseball field: 2.60510624.jpg © PA Images 2.60510624.jpg

With the T20 World Cup drawing ever closer, matches in the Welsh capital on Wednesday and Thursday before a series-concluding fixture in Southampton on Saturday offer opportunities for both sides to test their mettle.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the topics of discussion.

England’s big guns back in action

a baseball player pitching a ball on a field: Jos Buttler returns to the England set-up (Dan Mullan/PA) © Provided by Cricket365 Jos Buttler returns to the England set-up (Dan Mullan/PA)

England’s rest and rotation policy has its critics but their bulging schedule, allied to tight restrictions caused by a global pandemic over the last 18 months, means something has had to give. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are still unavailable but England’s Indian Premier League contingent are heading back into the fray, with several of that number allowed to miss the two-match Test series against New Zealand. The subsequent defeat to the Kiwis led to criticism about England’s priorities being askew but the likes of Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Jonny Bairstow should all be refreshed heading into a busy summer.

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Woakes and Willey get their chance

a group of baseball players standing on top of a grass covered field: David Willey, left, and Chris Woakes are back in England’s T20 squad (Bradley Collyer/PA) © Provided by Cricket365 David Willey, left, and Chris Woakes are back in England’s T20 squad (Bradley Collyer/PA)

It seems strange that Woakes, a key pillar in England’s 50-over World Cup triumph two years ago and widely regarded as one of the best limited-overs seamers in the country, has not played a T20 international since November 2015. Left-armer David Willey, meanwhile, has gone two years without a T20 cap. But with Archer sidelined, England have a new-ball void to fill and have turned to two reliable performers who very rarely let them down. They may very well be competing for one spot in this series – and possibly, by extension, a T20 World Cup squad berth – so both players will be eager to stake their claims.

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No Stokes, no problem

a baseball player throwing a ball: Ben Stokes is unavailable for this series (Jon Super/PA) © Provided by Cricket365 Ben Stokes is unavailable for this series (Jon Super/PA)

Stokes’ absence from any side leaves a massive hole – even if he has a patchy T20 record for England, who have been accused of failing to get the best out of their premier all-rounder in the sprint format. But, in this instance, England have a number of all-round options who could come in at five or six in the order. Eoin Morgan was reluctant to divulge too much about team selection but Moeen Ali may return after being overlooked against India over the winter while fellow all-rounder Liam Livingstone will also be under consideration for his first T20 appearance for England in four years.

Sri Lanka no pushovers

Lasith Malinga holding a football ball: Lasith Malinga was not selected for this trip by Sri Lanka (Simon Cooper/PA) © Provided by Cricket365 Lasith Malinga was not selected for this trip by Sri Lanka (Simon Cooper/PA)

There may not be too many household names in the Sri Lanka squad, with former captain Angelo Mathews omitted because of paternity leave while veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga has been overlooked. England, the top ranked T20 side in the world, will be firm favourites against a side ranked seven places below them in the International Cricket Council table, but it should not be forgotten that was also the case when the sides met in the 50-over World Cup two years ago. On that occasion Sri Lanka caused a huge shock and a number of those who were in the side on that day in Headingley are part of the travelling contingent this time around.

Wildlife deaths blamed on ship disaster mount in Sri Lanka

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Redfern makes history

Sue Redfern will become the first female to officiate in an England men’s home international after being named fourth umpire for the opening T20. Alex Wharf was appointed to the role but is reserve umpire at the ongoing World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand, which is set to go into a sixth day on Wednesday following bad weather at the Ageas Bowl. Redfern was kept on standby in case of such an eventuality and the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Tuesday that the 43-year-old will break new ground on Wednesday evening.

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Malan hits 76 as England complete clean sweep v Sri Lanka .
RICHARD GIBSON AT THE AGEAS BOWL: Dawid Malan's response was emphatic: his 12th 50-plus score in 27 appearances in this format proved the cornerstone of a crushing 89-run win.Dawid Malan’s response was emphatic: his 12th 50-plus score in 27 appearances in this format proved the cornerstone of a crushing 89-run win over a Sri Lankan side that have dropped so low in the international standings they enter a Twenty20 World Cup that Eoin Morgan’s team have designs on winning this autumn at the qualifying stage.

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