After losing 3-0 to Pakistan in a three Test series earlier this year, they are staring a consecutive series defeat in the face after losing narrowly to Sri Lanka in Galle where the home side won by 75 runs.
England are available at 15/8 (bet365 £200 free bets) to claim victory, something which would keep them at number one in the rankings and restore some much-needed confidence that this is a team that can win on the sub-continent.
It is clear that batting is the problem for the English side at the moment, something that the in-form Jonathan Trott has described as a ‘sin’ at the moment.
“We’ve lost a lot of wickets in clusters,” Trott said. “In the past if we’ve lost two early wickets then guys have been able to steady the ship and we’ve been able to get through sessions pretty unscathed.
“But we’ve had bad sessions with the bat and getting bowled out in 40-odd overs was a bit of a sin. The wicket (in Galle) was pretty good and we should have capitalised. It’s no lack of effort on any par, it just hasn’t worked out for us.”
Trott is available at 7/2 (Betfred) to score the most England runs, although all eyes will be on Andrew Strauss whose miserable run of form continued in the 1st Test. Strauss managed 26 and 27 in Galle with the captain having managed just one century in the past 48 innings.
Sri Lanka are available at 2/1 (Bet Victor) to capitalise on the brittle confidence within the tourists’ ranks, with Rangana Herath able to skittle out the tail end last week to help his side to victory and the tail end need to stand up and be counted.
The spin bowler is a 2/1 chance (Boylesports free bets) to take the most wickets for his team, with Suraj Randiv the other Sri Lankan bowler to take wickets during that second England innings.
It will be interesting to see which England bowlers are selected for this match, with Stuart Broad out with an injury and that could pave the way for Tim Bresnan or Steve Finn to step up to the mark.
However, Graeme Swann was the man in form for England with the ball last time around and he is the slight favourite to be top wicket taker for his team.