Author Archives: James Pacheco

Sri Lanka v England Test Series Betting

Record books suggest inevitable Sri Lanka win

Let’s start with the most important thing of all. Test match cricket and ODI cricket are completely different beasts. Even more so these days where 300 batting first is generally seen as an absolute minimum and teams think nothing of scoring at 10 an over in the back end of a chase as long as they have a few wickets in hand, especially if there’s a set batsman at the crease.

So with that in mind, we can pretty much dismiss what happened in the ODI series between these two. Different format, different players, different wickets, different strategies. Almost irrelevant when it comes to the 5-day business.

And here’s the proof. That lacklustre Sri Lanka side who did well to win a game in the ODI Series have won their last three Series (including against South Africa and Australia, no less), winning all of their last seven Tests on home soil. England away? Haven’t won a Series for three years and have won just four of their last 26 when the ball isn’t swinging and seaming on fresh, green English wickets.

There are however two annoying flies in the ointment that should make us be a little cautious about being too ambitious here and going for say 2-0 (7.5) or 3-0 (15.0) Sri Lanka at chunky prices.

The first is that Rangana Herath (more on him in a second) has chosen to retire after the first of the three Tests. He has personal and professional reasons for insisting that he has one last shot at taking wickets in this Galle Test and if you’re wondering why he won’t play the full Series, it’s quite simply that he doesn’t think his body can hack it. Not that surprising: he’s 40 years old and was already playing Test cricket in the late 90s.

Anyway, given he has taken 41% of the team’s wickets over that seven-match period, you can see why it’s a huge blow that he isn’t around for the whole thing.

The second ‘fly’ is that it’s monsoon season in Sri Lanka; we already saw how that can be a nuisance in the ODI series where just about every match was rain-affected one way or the other. It means that it may simply not be possible to get a result with so many overs lost, however well bowlers bowl and however poorly batters bat. So we may even get a couple of draws in the series, making it very hard to have a stab at a correct score. The other obvious problem is that lots of rain doesn’t exactly make for great spinning conditions. Far from it. This is Sri Lanka’s strength when it comes to bowling and it’s the one area where their batsmen are better than England’s: playing spin. There may even be times where the conditions are far more favourable to England than to them.

Still, England’s away record is abysmal, Sri Lanka’s is excellent and if you want to argue that Herath is a huge loss after he plays the First Test, you can argue that the absence of Alastair Cook for England (allied with Jonny Bairstow’s almost certain absence from the First Test) more than levels things up. Let’s not try to be too smart here and let’s just plump for the straight Sri Lanka series win at 2.38.


Herath can retire on a high


Rain is forecast for pretty much the whole of the First Test.

Surely that means that Herath’s influence in his last-ever Test is limited. After all, the ball doesn’t spin much when the wicket is damp, does it?

Maybe not but with a little bit of imagination and some faith, we still think Herath may have the last laugh.

First up, what the weatherman says and what actually happens on the day can be two very different things. Maybe it won’t rain as much as he thinks and even if it does, it’s worth remembering that Herath doesn’t actually turn the ball that much anyway. He’s made a career out of subtle variations in pace and length, rather than relying on the ball turning square. Meaning that if any of the spinners are having to have joy here, it’s him.

The other important factor here is sentimentality. First in the sense that given it’s his last ever Test, he’ll bowl pretty much as many overs as is humanly possible. He’s a few wickets away from breaking some serious records so his captain will give him every chance to get to them by bowling lots and lots of overs.

He’s 7.0 to be man-of-the-match, so let’s think about the second part of the sentimentality issue. The award is decided by commentators or sponsors and even though most games produce an obvious MOM winner when you look at the scorecard, it’s not an exact science.

If someone scores a big hundred or takes 10 wickets in the game with Herath chipping in with just say four wickets, then fine, they’ll give it to that guy rather than Herath. But if it’s a close call with three or four candidates in the mix with Herath being one of them (including a scenario where there are two from each side, if it’s a draw) then few would begrudge the champion spinner getting it.   Seems like a small detail but it could make all the difference on the day.

You can read more about all aspects of cricket betting including explanations on how to play different markets and reviews of the best Cricket sportsbooks at


Back Sri Lanka to win the Series @ 2.38 with Ladbrokes/BetFred

Back Rangana Herath to be man-of-the-match in the First Test @ 7.0 with Bet365/Ladbrokes

Sri Lanka v England 3rd ODI: Hosts should shorten at some stage

An excellent result for us last time out with Thisara Perera top-scoring for Sri Lanka with 44 off 49 balls before the rain came. Perera was advised at odds of 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook and for the record the bet stood because Betfair rules state that there needed to be 25 overs bowled for it to be settled. We were a bit fortunate because there were 29. And if you had backed him with Bet365, it would also have stood because their rules state that at least 20 overs need to be played in that innings.Continue Reading

Sri Lanka v England 2nd ODI: Faith in Thisara, dough on Dananjaya

Starts Saturday 05:30

In the end, all we got from Wednesday’s game was 15 overs after England batted first. So whereas we’ll never know how Perera- either of them- would have fared if there had been a completed game, we still managed to accumulate a few morsels of knowledge about what may happen when the action gets underway again on Saturday.

The first thing we noticed was that Thisara Perera was chalked to come in at 6 rather than 7. That may seem like a somewhat trivial difference but actually…it isn’t. That could make all the difference between him having enough time at the crease to get to whatever score is there waiting to be beaten, or simply not having enough deliveries with which to do it. As a reminder: we know he can do it because he has the ability to score quicker than anyone else in the team; it’s the overs he’s out there for that we might be a bit concerned about.

So now to the strange bit. Despite being likely to bat a place higher than we all at first thought – there’s no reason why Sri Lanka should change the batting order at the same venue when no-one got a bat – he’s now a best price of 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook rather than the 15.0 he was last time out. There’s absolutely no reason why we should jump ship on Thisara when he’s batting a position higher and a bigger price than he was three days ago.  So, we won’t.

And if you’re wondering why we’re bailing out of our other Perera- Kusal – it’s purely on price. He was 7.0 last time and is a best price of 5.5 this time. The value is gone.

The other thing that was noticeable was that England played the seamers well. Lasith Malinga, once just about the best limited overs fast bowler in the world was treated by England’s batters like a Sunday league trundler. He went for 7.4 runs an over. Age and injuries catch up with you in the end, Lasith.

Pradeep was considerably better and took a wicket- a genuine edge- and class player that he is, he deserves some respect.

We never got to see Thisara Perera, him again, bowl because he tends to bowl in the middle overs and at the death. But there’s nothing we don’t know about him already. He’ll bowl good lines and lengths and provide some decent variations but he’s one of those bowlers that you get yourself out to rather than him getting you out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But the other bowler we did see was spinner A. Dananjaya. His figures don’t look particularly impressive with 30 runs conceded from six overs. But that’s because he was hit for two sixes. All well and good but on another day a couple of batsmen miscue and are caught. Which by the way, is exactly what happened when Jason Roy went after him, misread the turn and was caught trying to clear the boundary.

And across those five overs he was menacing with a few swings and misses, plenty of respectful blocks and a few false shots as well. It should come as no surprise that he caused England problems and is likely to do so again, for two reasons. One: England play pace much better than seam.

Two: the wicket at Dambulla (the 2nd match is there as well) is a good one and with little or no assistance from the pitch, it may have to be cunning deviations and changes of pace that get batsmen out rather than the wicket itself.

Dananjaya is actually Sri Lanka’s second top wicket-taker over the past 12 months in this format.  The first is our old mucker Thisara Perera.  But there’s not much to choose between them in terms of price and our money is on England struggling with his spin rather than Thisara’s medium pace next time.


0.5pts Back Thisara Perera to be Sri Lanka Top Batsman @ 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook

1pt Back Akila Dananjaya to be Sri Lanka Top Bowler @ 4.0 with Betfair Sportsbook/Ladbrokes


You can read more about all aspects of cricket betting including explanations on how to play different markets and reviews of the best Cricket sportsbooks at


Sri Lanka v England 1st ODI: A tale of two Pereras

Sri Lanka v England 1st ODI starts Wednesday 10:00

Match-winner market – Neither side appeals

England play Sri Lanka in the 1st ODI on Wednesday morning. The first point to make is that the prices on the match odds market are about right. England are around the 1.4 mark with just about everyone while Sri Lanka’s price is somewhere between 2.7 and 3.2, depending on who you’re betting with.

Let’s cut to the chase. England are a far better ODI side than Sri Lanka when it comes to batting and fielding, no doubt about that. Bowling: well if it’s really spinning then Sri Lanka may have the edge here and that’s where the hosts’ best chance may well lie: preparing a proper ‘bunsen’, picking at least three spinners and consistently bowling in the right areas. We’ll have to wait and see.

So England are very justified favourites but their record in Sri Lanka is awful. Six wins out of 21 there over the years. That’s a win in just 28% of their matches on Sri Lankan soil so all of a sudden we start to think twice about piling into a 1.4 shot. Not that we’d think about smashing into short prices, anyway.

But are Sri Lanka all of a sudden a value bet as big outsiders? Well, a lot of that damage in the past was done by Sri Lankan sides containing the likes of Muralitharan, Sangakarra, Jayawardene, Jayasuriya and Vaas. All now retired.

Their current ODI side doesn’t have a single player who would get anywhere near a World XI. Heck, only one or two of them would even get into the England side at the moment. So with a weak-looking side and an awful record over the past couple of years- 30 losses in their past 40 games and a run of 12 consecutive defeats in 2017 – they can’t be trusted, either.

I’m not going to take a punt on the England top batsman market, either. The Top 4 in the batting are available at almost identical odds, have very similar records and if you’re going to play this market, you might as well just pick one at random and hope for the best because it’s hard to see where the value lies.

Sri Lanka Top Batsman – Perera and…Perera.

But it’s a different story on the top Sri Lanka batsman market, where as the title of this preview suggests, it’s about two Pereras.

So bad was their performance in the recent Asia Cup that it’s fair to say no-one is in form. But in Kusal Perera Sri Lanka have a player who ticks the main boxes for a top batsman in ODIs. He has experience under his belt (80 ODIs), has played England plenty of times in the past, bats in the Top 4, has solid long-term numbers and for those who consider this to be an actual advantage, is left handed.

But sometimes it’s not so much about numbers as it is mindset.

This is a man who will attack you from ball one and that could be a key advantage over other Sri Lankan players who might look to bat more sedately. You see, England are ODI bullies. When they’re batting they like to go after bowlers. When they’re bowling, they don’t like batsmen showing no fear against them. Look at how they fell apart when Virat Kohli was hitting them to all parts in the summer.

But ultimately it is of course about price. Is Kusal Perera value at the 4.5 that the likes of Bet365 are laying him at? No, but given what we said about him so far, he is at odds of 7.0, which is what Ladbrokes and Coral are offering on him. I can only assume they think he will bat lower than four (unlikely) or that it’s just a mistake in terms of how they priced him up. After all, with the long-serving linchpin Angelo Matthews currently out of the side and skipper Dinesh Chandimal just coming back from injury, he may not have much to beat.

But it may be worth having a saver on the other Perera, Thisara. This is a hard-hitting all-rounder who particularly likes to punish spin and who we expect to see batting at 6, 7 or 8.

If Sri Lanka bat first he’s unlikely to have much of a chance because someone from the top order should get to at least 70. But Sri Lankan batting collapses are as frequent these days as England ones in the 90s and a more likely scenario where he’d be in the game would be this: if England post a big score, Sri Lanka have to go for it from early on, lose wickets up front by being too aggressive and he comes in at 6 or 7 with a top score or 30-odd to beat.

Given what we’ve seen of them in the last year or so, it’s not that unlikely. Given what we’ve seen of Perera over the years, he may just need 30 or so balls to get to 50, particularly if he’s up against the spinners. At odds of 15, it’s worth having him onside as a saver.


Recommended Bets

1pt Back Kusal Perera to be Top Sri Lanka Batsman @ 7.0 with Ladbrokes/Coral.

0.5pts Back Thisara Perera to be Top Sri Lanka Batsman @ 15.0 with Ladbrokes/Paddypower/Betfair Sportsbook


You can read more about all aspects of cricket betting including explanations on how to play different markets and reviews of the best Cricket sportsbooks at



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