Well, such a shame that we had more updates on weather than cricket. The number of timestamps tell you a story. The last ball was bowled four and half hours back. The covers were brought on few minutes before it started to pelt down heavily. The ground staff did remove the covers once the rain stopped, but few areas were too damp and were deemed unfit by the umpires. So, there are four more ODIs left, with two of them (second and fifth) having reserve days. Let's hope that the weather doesn't play spoilsport in the remaining fixtures. Until next time, it's goodbye from all of us down here.
20:18 Local Time, 14:48 GMT, 20:18 IST: The captains shake hands and the first ODI between Sri Lanka and England has been called off. The groundsmen tried their best, but alas, all their efforts have gone in vain.
20:15 Local Time, 14:45 GMT, 20:15 IST: The umpires are out in the middle. And, they don't seem to be happy with the conditions.
19:38 Local Time, 14:08 GMT, 19:38 IST: We are hearing that the pitch inspection has been postponed to 20.15 local.
There will be an inspection at 20.00 local once the covers are peeled off.
18:40 Local Time, 13:10 GMT, 18:40 IST: Good news, folks! "The ground staff are beginning to remove the covers, and the crowd - who've waited so patiently - roar their approval .. but the word is it'll take about 90 minutes to get the surface into a playable condition," is the latest tweet from Test Match Special
18:05 Local Time, 12:35 GMT, 18:05 IST: The live pictures don't seem to be promising. Chances of any further play look bleak.
17:45 Local Time, 12:15 GMT, 17:45 IST: No optimistic update as yet. "Rain a touch heavier again and a little gloomier. But it is getting dark anyway," tweets John Etheridge.
Australia: 87/0 --> 87/1 --> 87/2 --> 87/3. Mohammad Abbas picking all the three wickets. Switch tabs to follow the Dubai Test.
17:05 Local Time, 11:35 GMT, 17:05 IST: The rain has eased out a bit; still drizzling.
16:45 Local Time, 11:15 GMT, 16:45 IST: It is still raining heavily in Dambulla and we'll start to lose overs now.
16:15 Local Time, 10:45 GMT, 16:15 IST: There you go, it has started to rain now. Perhaps, the news we are getting in is that it's absolutely pelting down.
16:05 Local Time, 10:35 GMT, 16:05 IST: The entire ground has been covered and it has gotten further dark. We might be in for a long delay.
15:44 Local Time, 10:14 GMT, 15:44 IST: The groundsmen bring in the covers as a precautionary measure and the players walk off the fielders. It isn't actually raining at the moment, but the wind has picked up. The entire playing area is being covered. We'll keep you updated.
Drinks! After a quick start, England lost both their openers in quick succession. Dananjaya has kept it tight after conceding 11 off his opening over. However, England's Test captain has tackled spin with rather ease. The dark clouds are threatening to make a statement here. Let's hope that weather doesn't play spoilsport. The match is nicely poised at this stage..
The groundsmen are readily seated outside the boundary circumference.
Dark clouds hovering over the ground!
Lasith Malinga [3.0-0-19-0] is back into the attack
A slip and forward short leg in place for Root.
Eoin Morgan, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Two new batsmen. A slip and forward short leg in place..
Dananjaya to Roy, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Joe Root, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Pradeep to Bairstow, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Bairstow - Roy becomes the first England pair to put together 1000 partnership runs in a calendar year
Akila Dananjaya, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
There's the bowling change. Spin introduced for the first time. A slip in place
Nuwan Pradeep, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Pace from the other end too. Two slips positioned..
Roy and Bairstow are at the crease. Roy is on strike. Malinga will open the attack
The players are out for the National Anthems. Sri Lanka Matha follows England's God Save the Queen. The formality is done. Final words from skipper Dinesh Chandimal to his team-mates in the huddle. Off they disperse and in walk the dangerous England openers. Slinga Malinga will start proceedings. The countdown is done. Two slips in place and here we go..
England have fielded three specialist spinners in their playing XI as opposed to Sri Lanka's two.
Pitch Report: "It's a dry wicket, few cracks - will not come into play. The pitch will be on the slower side. 258 is the average score and you need that score here to be competitive," reckons Russel Arnold
Morgan: I wanted to do the same, the pitch looks fine. Should be the same for 100 overs. We have gone with 2 spinners, 2 fast bowlers and 2 all-rounders in Moeen and Ben Stokes. He (Olly Stone) has been impressive the last week. The extra pace he offers is very exciting. He is young and has a lot of potential. You have to turn up everyday hoping to play the best cricket.
Chandimal: We will have a bowl first. Bit of moisture in the wicket and that's why we chose to bowl. We are playing 7-4. We were really disappointing in the last series. We are working hard on our fielding. That's one area we have to improve. England are the number one side in the world and it won't be easy to beat them,. We have the game-plan and when the situation comes we can step up. We are playing two mystery spinners and two fast bowlers. It is really special (to lead the side) and the guys can turn things around and if we can win the series that will be a turning point for us.
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep, Lakshan Sandakan
England (Playing XI): Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(w), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Dawson, Adil Rashid, Olly Stone
Sri Lanka have won the toss and have opted to field
Sri Lanka, unlike their opponents, have more than one issue to address. Their record has been poor in the 50-over format ever since the 2015 WC. Yes, they recalled the veteran Lasith Malinga for the Asia Cup. But, that hardly made any difference as they bowed out of the tournament without registering a single win. Post that, Angelo Mathews has been sacked and now Chandimal has to carry the burden. Despite the home advantage, the odds are stacked against the home team. Their spinners will have to play a big role if they are to stop the English juggernaut.
13.45 Local Time: Warwickshire pacer Olly Stone has been handed his ODI cap. Beware of his pace, Sri Lanka.
The last time England toured Sri Lanka, the visitors were thrashed 5-2 in the seven-match ODI series which led to the then skipper Alastair Cook's sacking - a couple of months prior to the 2015 WC. Post the WC debacle, the Englishmen under Eoin Morgan's captaincy have hardly put a foot wrong. Four years later, here they are, as the number one side in the world and coming into the series as firm favourites. Heading into the 2019 WC, England will look to seal a few vacant spots in the squad.
13.30 Local Time: First things first, the skies have cleared and the sun is out at Dambulla. With that good news, I welcome you to our live coverage of the first ODI between Sri Lanka and England. It's the start of a long tour for England who have come to the Island nation for 5 ODIs, a lone T20I and three Tests.
Preview by Vithushan EhantharajahSweaty work. That's what England are preparing themselves for over the next two months. While the Tests might last five days - in principle, at least - it is the one-dayers that players say really saps your reserves. Given the break-neck speed at which Eoin Morgan's men play the game, fitness will truly be tested. Were it not for the conditions, this duel of eighth v first in the world would be no tough call.Preparing for a WC at home with a series in Sri Lanka seems a bit hare-brained. But cricket tends to throw up these weird little situations. Case in point: the qualifiers for the upcoming Women's T20 WC in the Caribbean were held in the Netherlands. Even boards tie themselves up in these knots. Remember when England prepared for the 2014 T20 WC in Bangladesh with an ODI tour of West Indies?Anyway, a slick, more attuned white-ball focus means no stone are left unturned. This tour, along with that of the Caribbean in the new year, is less about tactics and more about individuals' will and decision-making.Marginal calls have already been made by the selection committee, such as the decision to leave Sam Billings and James Vince at home: two players who in this WC cycle have had opportunities as top and middle-order alternates. Their times are not over, but they're certainly not right now.Those on tour, though, have opportunities to stake claims. Liam Plunkett's impending nuptials opens the door for Warwickshire's Olly Stone to crank it up. David Willey's unfortunate back injury has opened the door for Sam Curran, who isn't just a left-arm allrounder but also swings the new ball. Willey's six-hitting ability is the main card he has over the Boy Wonder.Perhaps the biggest plus England could take out of this month is the return of fitness, form and confidence to "senior pros" Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. Despite being the white-ball pack leader, Woakes did not feature in any of the ODIs this summer, while the Durham quick only managed seven wickets from the eight he played. Being at ease with a longer run up, more oomph and less strain on the joints are the key notes for him to hit.Gone are the days of touring England sides coming to the sub-continent and refusing to take cues from their opponents. Sri Lanka's four spin options are healthier in number but not necessarily experience. But there are two players going into this series that you feel need to fire to affect uncertainty in the touring party.After the way India's Kuldeep Yadav turned England over, one imagines Lakshan Sandakan, quicker through the air, will feature all the way through this tour. With the bat, Niroshan Dickwella has the aggression and unorthodoxy to knock even the most measured bowler off his rhythm. The left-hander is not approaching this series with any semblance of form, but given how under-cooked England are after just one warm-up, he might just turn it all around.Of course, this could all be moot if Mother Nature has her way.When: Sri Lanka vs England, 1st ODI, October 10, 2:30pm local timeWhere: Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, DambullaWhat to expect: Sri Lanka have not won at this ground in eight previous attempts. South Africa's two performances earlier this year - chasing down 194 with five wickets and 19 overs to spare before getting a target of 245 with four wickets and 43 balls still in the chamber - suggests 350 in 50 overs is doable on this pitch should stars align. But the forecast will have an influence on the length and rhythm of this match. Remember - only the second (also at Dambulla) and fifth ODI (Colombo) have reserve days scheduled.Team NewsEnglandEoin Morgan will wait to the very last moment to name his XI, given the likelihood of a reduced game here - heck, maybe even a 20-over affair. Perhaps the only certainty is that he'll go in with three spinners. And a Curran, though reckon Sam's left arm option wins out.Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark WoodSri LankaBeyond maybe five definites, the rest of the spots in this side are up for grabs. There is also a chance that Sadeera Samarawickrama might make the final cut in a bit to enhance the batting.Probable XI: Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya De Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan PradeepDid you know:- Sri Lanka's last bilateral series win against a higher-ranked ODI side came against England in 2014 at home when they won by a 5-2 margin.- Sri Lanka have lost seven of their last eight ODIs in Dambulla with one no-result. Their last win here coming in 2014 against Pakistan.- Johnny Bairstow in 38 runs away from 2000 ODI runs. If he gets there in his next innings, he will be the joint sixth-fastest to do so - in 48 innings.
Sri Lanka (From): Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal(w/c), Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Amila Aponso, Dushmantha Chameera, Sadeera Samarawickrama
England (From): Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(w), Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Alex Hales, Olly Stone