England will return to a familiar team shape in the third one-day international against Sri Lanka, adding an extra pace bowler in place of the departed Liam Dawson.

The tourists made the rare decision to field three specialist spinners in both matches last week, but the chief beneficiary of that tactical switch, slow left-armer Dawson, is on the way home after suffering a side strain.

His replacement Joe Denly, recalled to the 50-over side after a nine-year absence, will not join his team-mates until a matter of hours before the scheduled start time and neither he, nor the freshly-married and newly-arrived Liam Plunkett, will be considered for selection.

Tom Curran looks set to replace the injured Liam Dawson for the third ODI (Eranga Jayawardena/AP).Tom Curran looks set to replace the injured Liam Dawson for the third ODI (Eranga Jayawardena/AP).

Instead, Tom Curran looks set to feature ahead of Mark Wood, the pair having been ousted in the seam ranks by newcomer Olly Stone in Dambulla, while the younger Curran brother, Sam, is also on hand to offer left-arm swing.

With just eight more one-day internationals before the provisional 15-man World Cup squad is announced, and competition hotting up, Woods’ likely omission nudges him back in the pecking order.

Wood is quicker and more experienced, but Curran senior has the subtlety and variation which might allow him to thrive in sub-continental conditions.

Whoever wins out, all-rounder Moeen Ali says England will be more than comfortable to lean on a familiar configuration.

“We just go back to the same balance of team we’ve had these last few years,” he said.

“It’s a shame for Daws, because this was a great opportunity for him to play regularly and it hasn’t happened for him.

“I think it’s more going back what we’re good at, two spinners in the side with Joe Root being the third if needed. He’s been bowling really well with the white ball and we have good skills with our seamers as well.”

One shift that will not be forthcoming is a move up the batting card for the versatile Moeen. He opened the batting on England’s previous trip here in 2014 and his 119 in Colombo remains the country’s highest ODI innings on the island.

He now sits at number seven and has no serious designs on a top-order place these days given the wildly successful reinvention of the team’s batting ethos.

“You sometimes kind of think, ‘I would love to be opening’, but I think the way the guys have played over a few years now, there’s not a single one I look at and think I should be batting ahead of,” he told Test Match Special.

“All six of the guys are fantastic players, they have so much skill and have scored so many runs I don’t look at them and think I should be batting ahead of you. I’ve got to make an impact at number seven.”