Ravi Bopara Alastair Cook England
England skipper Alastair Cook (R) and Ravi Bopara have a conversation during a net sessionReuters

Both Sri Lanka and England have suffered heavy series defeats recently at the hands of world champions India, and both of these teams will now look towards their powers of bouncebackability when they battle in this seven-match one-day international series starting with the 1st ODI in Colombo on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka were thumped 5-0 by India in the recently-concluded ODI series, with the Islanders, who were called to tour India at short notice owing to West Indies' sudden pull out, showing their lack of preparation and weaknesses, particularly in the batting order, in spades.

The Lankans continue to rely on their big three batsmen – Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara – all in the twilight of their careers, with only skipper Angelo Mathews looking capable of giving support and/or leading from the front.

Sri Lanka's batting, apart from the above four, and that too in patches, was woeful against India, while their bowlers, albeit shorn of some experienced players, were smashed to all parts of the ground by the opposition batsmen.

One option for Sri Lanka to show some strength up front is to send Mahela Jayawardene, who has everything but begged to be played as an opener, to the top of the order with Dilshan, with the likes of Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga failing to convince.

Jayawardene is at his best when given an opportunity to bat out the 50 overs, but it looks like Sri Lanka will again go with Perera in order to maintain the right and left hand combination, unless they decide to drop Dilshan down the order.

"I don't think Mahela will play as an opener in the first match, but he is always ready to bat wherever the team needs him," said vice-captain Lahiru Thirimanne, another option for the top order. "Kusal Perera is there.

"We haven't picked the XI yet but it's likely that we'll have a left-hand/right-hand combination."

For England, who will be without their star bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, it will be about finding their ODI groove, which just hasn't fallen into place yet. They were easily beaten by India in their own conditions at home, while also falling 3-2 to Sri Lanka the last time these two teams met in the UK.

England's cause in trying to acclimatise to conditions in Sri Lanka, though, have not been helped by the wet weather, with skipper Alastair Cook far from happy on that front.

If England are not careful, they could be thumped by Sri Lanka much like India did to the Lankans when they faced the Men in Blue with little preparation.

"When you're playing a side as good as Sri Lanka in their own conditions you want more game time, only two batters have really had any middle time in a game situation but that is the modern way," said Cook.

"Everyone in nets looks really good but we all know it's very different to being out in the game, being under pressure. The lads have trained fantastically well but that counts for nothing in terms of how we're going to go."

Rain is looming large ahead of this 1st ODI, and indeed the entire ODI series, and Messrs Duckworth and Lewis could well come into play on Wednesday.

Where to Watch Live

The 1st match is scheduled to begin at 2.30 pm local time (2.30 pm IST, 9 am GMT) with live coverage on Ten Action in India and Ten Sports in Sri Lanka. The match can also be watched via live streaming online on Ten Sports Live.

Catch the action in the UK on Sky Sports 2, while audience can also watch the match by live streaming on Watch Sky Sports or Sky Go. Viewers in the US can watch the match on Willow TV or Willow TV Online.

Expected lineups: Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga.

England: Alastair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Ravi Bopara, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, James Tredwell, Harry Gurney.

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