Although the series has already been settled, the last game will be a chance for the wounded Lankan lions to get something back against the very confident Englishmen. What makes England a slightly different side is their unpredictability and the sudden rise in form. Throughout the series, they have dominated the Lankans with more ease than one would have expected. Given the conditions and the build up to the game, you could bet on another English victory.
The Batting story
England has turned their weakness into their strength as one may have noticed from the pattern of growth and development in their batting as the series has progressed. From being 150 all out in the first match to chasing, given the conditions, a formidable total in the last match, England has to just maintain the good work done in this department. Jayawardene, however, would have spent an uneasy night reflecting on the fact that key players like Jayasuriya, Mubarak and himself have failed to deliver. As they play this match for pride, Jayawardene will be hoping for one of them atleast one of them to perform.
With likes of Bell, Collingwood and Pietersen performing to their potential along with some useful help from Cook, the England team average of 30.35 seems to be achievable. With their average strike rates projecting a score of around 240, which they have comfortably breached on a couple of occasions on this tour, a target of around 220-250 would be chaseable if they continue their run of form. With a lot of their runs coming in boundaries (48%), the Lankans could try and tap this area, plug the boundaries to dry the runs up and try and put some pressure.
The Lankan batting, on the other hand, has generally misfired so far and performances have come in bits and pieces. However, an in-form, all-cylinders-firing Lankan batting order has the potential to put up a score of around 235 which could set up a more evenly balanced game. On current form, Sangakkara and Silva remain the crux of the batting and could find their talents being better utilized if the openers give them a better platform to work on. However with the inconsistency shown by the batsmen, the holding of wickets in the first half of the innings will play a very crucial role.
The Bowling story
Further bad news for Sri Lanka comes in the form of the cloudy skies that cover the Premadasa, which could favour the in form English bowlers. With the likes of Anderson, Broad and Sidebottom performing better than their career averages and statistics, the Englishmen have so far managed to keep Lanka on a leash. However the forced substitution of Panesar for Swann could well make a difference as Panesar averages 41 as against Swann's 26. This apart from the fact that Swann has been in form, and Panesar hasn't played in the first four games and will need to find his rhythm. Lankans know what they have to do - bat the three opening speedsters out and the foundation is laid.
Lanka have so far been heavily dependent on Maharoof for their early breakthroughs but have been found lacking in the middle overs where the Englishmen have taken the game away from them more than once. However if the rest of the bowlers stand up to the occasion and provide some much needed assistance, the Lankans could hold the English middle order to siege, and make some headway towards salvaging something in this series.