London, June 28: England Test opener Alastair Cook is all set to try his hand at one-dayers again, and that too as captain no less! He thus will officially become England's third skipper in a little over a week when the hosts take on Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the tour today. The decision to have a different captain for each format of the game could prove to be a bit of a hazard, especially given Stuart Broad's inauspicious debut as T20 skipper on Saturday. But Cook would be hoping to impart some of the confidence to his side that his predecessor Andrew Strauss was able to only partially accomplish.
With the World Cup quarterfinal drubbing at the hands of Sri Lanka fresh in the minds, the English team will be itching to settle scores with the visitors. But they will also be wary of the fact that they are up against a formidable one-day unit. With Sanath Jayasuriya embarking on his swansong series, this engagement could very well turn out to be a throwback to his heyday. And with Tillakratene Dilshan, returning as captain (albeit still a wounded soldier with his broken thumb), the English will no doubt be faced with a handful.
In contrast to England's two others captains - Strauss and Stuart Broad - whose performances with bat and ball have not been upto the mark lately, Cook appears to be in great shape. The left-handed opener amassed a chart-topping aggregate of 390 runs in the three-match Test series against Lanka at a phenomenal average of over 97. One will of course have to wait and see if how quickly he adapts to the demand for quicker runs, given he played his last ODI against Bangladesh in early 2010. But the momentum and resolve is clearly with him.
Finally, with premier paceman Tim Bresnan back in England's ODI squad, he just might render his side with the "X" factor it needs to prevail over the Lankans. There is no doubting however, that he will play a pivotal role for England as his nagging pace and deadly accuracy would warrant. Still one wonders if he will match up to his hitherto more successful counterpart Lasith Malinga. Malinga had the English batsman running for cover in Saturday's T20I, conceding less than 6 runs an over and picking up three wickets, including the vital one of Eoin Morgan.
England (probable) 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alastair Cook (capt), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ian Bell, 7 Samit Patel/Tim Bresnan, 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 James Anderson, 11 Jade Dernbach.
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt) 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilina Kandamby, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekera, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Suraj Randiv, 11 Lasith Malinga,