In hindsight England’s performance against Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday was pretty much text book. A grinding, modest total, defended by good tight, disciplined bowling, and athletic aggressive fielding. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s what England have been building towards for some time now.
It’s not a policy that I think will win in Asian conditions, but in English conditions, it has a chance (which is why I also think New Zealand are serious contenders in this tournament).
The online bookmakers have Alastair Cooks men as favourites today, England are now 4/7, Sri Lanka are 11/8. It seems England must be getting heavily backed as they were 4/6 last night.
Defeat today sees Sri Lanka eliminated, while victory will open the group right up. It seems hard to believe that a team with Lasith Malinga, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in it are the tournament outsiders after playing just one match, but such is the tournament format, that is unfortunately the case for the Sri Lankans.
The wicket being used at The Oval today is apparently a new one, so recent results there shouldn’t be used as too much of a form guide. This might prompt the re-inclusion of Steven Finn, and there is again a bit of overcast gloomy typical English weather around at the moment. This could explain why in the betting, England getting backed in over the last few hours.
In the overall tournament winner betting, Australia seem to be the losers after yesterday’s washout. They have now drifted in the betting from 10/1 to 16/1, with New Zealand trimmed from 13/2 to 11/2. So the bookmakers clearly see New Zealand as the main beneficiaries of the splitting of the points.
England and Sri Lanka have slightly drifted, while India still head the betting.
Outright Champions Trophy Betting
South Africa 4/1
New Zealand 11/2
West Indies 10/1
Sri Lanka 16/1