Sri Lanka vs England 1st Test Betting Tips
England have a big 2021 in store with big guns India looming large while there is the small matter of an Ashes series against Australia Down Under at the end of the year.
The Three Lions begin against Sri Lanka with the first of two Tests getting underway on Thursday, 14th January, with the second following a week later with both matches taking place in Galle.
Sri Lanka vs England Betting Odds
England to win first Test - BET NOW
Neither side is the force of old but England are two places above Sri Lanka in the ICC Test rankings and go into the first Test as 11/10 favourites.
Joe Root's side began 2020 with an away series' success, winning 3-1 in South Africa, before overcoming West Indies in the summer and drawing with Pakistan.
Although not particularly good travellers, England also won on their last visit to Sri Lanka, winning all three Tests in a 3-0 win in 2018/19 and it is not hard to see why they are favourites.
Sri Lanka have won only two of their last eight Test series, including that 3-0 home reverse to England with one of their victories coming against Zimbabwe, while they go into the first Test fresh from a 2-0 drubbing in South Africa.
The hosts are available at odds of 2/1 to win the first Test, while the draw can be backed at 7/2.
Sri Lanka vs England Team News
There will be no Jofra Archer or Ben Stokes available for England for this series, while Moeen Ali has definitely been ruled out of the first Test after testing positive for Covid-19.
Chris Woakes is also a doubt for the opener, having been a close contact of Ali, while Ollie Pope is also overlooked as he continues his recovery from a shoulder injury, despite scoring an unbeaten half-century in the warm-up match.
With Rory Burns also unavailable, Zak Crawley looks likely to open alongside Dom Sibley, while the returning Jonny Bairstow looks set to fill the No.3 position, with Dan Lawrence a potential debutant in the middle order.
England may opt for a third spinner given the conditions in Sri Lanka, while there are doubts that James Anderson and Stuart Broad will play in the same game as the tourists weigh up conditions, fitness levels and the tasks ahead.
For Sri Lanka, they have been given a boost after veteran trio Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews and Suranga Lakmal have all been included in the squad after overcoming recent injury problems. Whether they all make the XI for the opening Test remains to be seen, but it seems likely if they are fit, given the side's struggles in South Africa.
Sri Lanka vs England Prediction
Jack Leach - Top England Bowler - BET NOW
There appears to be little doubt that the pitches in Galle will favour the spinners and it would be taking something of a chance picking a fast bowler in this market, until the line-up is known at the very least.
However, even then, the slow bowlers are expected to have most joy and Jack Leach is doubly motivated to do the business.
The Somerset off-spinner was seemingly usurped in the pecking order by Dom Bess, who has hardly cemented his place in the side, and has been given a second opportunity back in the team, while Leach has the confidence of taking 18 wickets in three Tests on England's last tour of Sri Lanka.
Joe Root - Man of the Match - BET NOW
There has been little chance for England's batsmen to get into form for the first Test, with their one and only intra-squad two-day match washed out on the second day.
However, Root had enough time to look good for an unbeaten 74 while he still remains England's best bat, despite an annoying tendency to get out once he has got in.
With an inexperienced line-up and the absence of Stokes, Root will be desperate to score the runs that matter for his side.
While he is an obvious and worthy favourite to top England's run-scoring, backing him at a bigger price to be named man of the match factors in a surprise innings from elsewhere, while allowing his off-spinning all-rounder capacity to play its part.
Sri Lanka vs England 1st Test Betting Tips
1. England to win first Test
2. Jack Leach - Top England Bowler
3. Joe Root - Man of the Match
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Sri Lanka vs England 1st Test Frequently Asked Questions
Which ground will Sri Lanka vs England be played at? Galle International Stadium, GalleWhat time does the match start?
04:30 on Thursday, 14th January.A
What are the odds on Sri Lanka winning?
What are the odds on England winning?
Where can I watch Sri Lanka vs England on TV?
The match will be shown on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.A
What is our recommended bet?
England to win.A