It is little more than a year ago that the hosts were reborn and rebooted as a white ball side and, while there have been bumps in the road, there has definite steps forward as England shook off their trademark indecision to embrace a more aggressive style.
One of the shining lights, Joss Buttler, has called for more aggression from the batters and he was one of those responsible for bringing his side back from the brink on Tuesday when the top order collapsed in 18 ill-judged overs.
It was to the great credit that England’s depth of batting, featuring the likes of Man of the Match Chris Woakes, dug the hosts out of a hole and salvaged a tie but it was arguably the loss of Angelo Matthews through injury which hurt Sri Lanka as the tourists lost their heads and direction in the field.
Matthews, who hobbled off with a hamstring injury in the midst of a potentially match-winning spell of 2-22, would be a huge loss if declared unfit today and his loss would make Eoin Morgan's men strong favourites at one of their favourite venues.
Surely England’s top order can’t continue to falter and it’s worth recalling they smashed their way to 400 for the first time the last time they played at Birmingham 12 months ago against the Kiwis. Joe Root and Buttler were both centurions that day and the former will be desperate to recover some form after posting his fourth single-figure score in five innings this summer at Trent Bridge.
Root is too good a player to be in the doldrums for long so is taken to top the charts again, while Kusal Perera showed enough in his brief Trent Bridge cameo to suggest he remains in good nick.
Pinch-hitter Seekkuge Prasanna, who smashed a rapid half century in Nottingham, should again be well served by a shorter leg side boundary, this time to the Eric Hollies Stand and is worth a small play at double-figure odds.
Adil Rashid bowled beautifully in the first game and helped spin New Zealand out with 4-55 a year ago so is worth supporting to be England’s top bowler.