Bairstow out to prove a point


England have an opportunity to complete a series sweep in the third Test against Sri Lanka, with Jonny Bairstow one man desperate to show what he can do in Colombo.

The Yorkshireman has had to take a watching brief for the first two matches of the series, having suffered an ankle injury during the preceding one-day action.

Man of the Match – Jonny Bairstow @ 13/1

However, a side strain to all-rounder Sam Curran and a slight change in emphasis from England means the right-hander is back in the fold and he will be eager to show his stuff.

Granted, he finished last summer with three ducks in five Test innings against India but that was also following an injury blow, so perhaps reading too much into those struggles would be a mistake.

Two centuries in four previous Test innings – including a Test-best 167 not out against the islanders – show Bairstow has what it takes to impress, especially if he steps up to fill the problematic number three spot.

While England have the luxury of players such as Bairstow to bring into their line-up, Sri Lanka have even more problems as they will be without off-spinning all-rounder Akila Dananjaya.

Therefore, if the hosts are to take some positives from this game, then former captain Angelo Mathews is likely to have to make a major impact.

Man of the Match – Angelo Mathews @ 15/1

While no Sri Lanka player has scored a century in the series to date, Mathews has passed 50 in three of his four innings and has an impressive overall record against England in the five-day game.

In 15 innings he has made two centuries and five half-centuries, averaging very close to 50, which highlights what an underrated performer he has been for a number of years.

Allied to Mathews, the home side may need a hand from the weather and, with plenty of rain a possibility, 33/10 for a draw is also something to keep an eye on.

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