England and Sri Lanka are facing off in what looks set to be an exciting T20 cricket series beginning on June 23. Read on to inform your England vs. Sri Lanka predictions.
England: Recent form and schedule
England have a busy schedule through the rest of 2021 with matches against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India all taking place this summer, before the T20 World Cup in October and November. The Three Lions' year culminates in the Ashes series against old enemies Australia.
Chris Silverwood's side were disappointing in the recent Test series against New Zealand in their first matches of the English summer, but the squad will now be looking to flex their muscles against Sri Lanka in a three-match T20 series, ahead of three One-Day Internationals against the same side.
There were mitigating circumstances for England's Test series defeat to New Zealand, with the selectors resting a number of key players following their exertions in the Indian Premier League, while injury robbed the team of others as well.
England vs. Sri Lanka: Key players for England
However, with the T20 World Cup coming up later this year, shorter-format skipper Eoin Morgan will be looking to fine-tune his side's preparations, and most of those big guns are back.
Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, and Chris Woakes have been recalled to the squad, although England will still be without Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, despite the latter having returned to domestic duty with Durham.
Saqib Mahmood and Reece Topley have also been ruled out through injury but uncapped Sussex bowler George Garton has earned his first call-up.
England vs. Sri Lanka: Contract issues for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka have arrived in England with their own problems as there is an ongoing contract dispute over pay and incentives so they are not exactly at full strength, with experienced all-rounder Angelo Mathews a notable absentee.
Sri Lanka have recently struggled in T20 matches.
However, credit must go to those players who have agreed to play on a temporary deal, and there is the opportunity of staking a claim on a place in the team going into the World Cup later this year.
Whether Mickey Arthur's men have the quality or strength in depth to compete with England, particularly on their own patch, remains to be seen but there is arguably more chance of it happening in the shortest form of the game than in either ODIs or Test cricket, as one player or even one over could have the ultimate bearing on the final outcome.
The first of three T20s gets underway on Wednesday and the second a day later, with both being played behind closed doors at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, while the final T20 will take place at Southampton's Ageas Bowl on Saturday.
England vs. Sri Lanka: Who are the favourites?
England are likely to play their strongest available side in the opener, given they have all been given a break from international duty, with Jonny Bairstow expected to shrug off the ankle injury he sustained while smashing 112 from 51 balls for Yorkshire and take his place in the line-up, while Garton may have to wait for his first cap.
Morgan's men may have lost their last T20 series but that was a thrilling 3-2 defeat to India and they look to be too strong for Sri Lanka to contain, particularly having beaten both South Africa and Australia before that.
Sri Lanka have struggled in T20 cricket in recent times, losing their last four series against West Indies (twice), India, and Australia, and they look outgunned in all departments by the home side.