A fortnight in the tour of England by Sri Lanka, and a pattern has been established on cricket that has been possible until now. Invitably, clear skies in the mornings have invariably given way to torrential downpours in the afternoon and if, in between, there has been enough opportunity to start a contest, then players have placed slots in the windows that are presented.
Not exactly ideal but for England, 2-0 after three truncated contests and with part of the series secured, they are at least passing their first significant test on this, the final focus of their World Cup campaign 2019. For Sri Lanka, poorly balanced in the absence of Angelo Mathews and too dependent on the rare moments of individual brilliance, his only realistic goal is respectability.
Much has been said about the timing of this tour, particularly by the ECB. themselves, who felt compelled to defend their programming in a post on social networks during the six-hour rain delay on Wednesday.
But somehow, despite everything, we've been invited to a couple of entertaining contests so far, with England having to endure a Renaissance performance by Lasith Malinga in the opening contest at Dambulla, before being more cunning than his opponents in a trot of 21 over Pallekele on Wednesday.
Who knows what support this will have in the toughest tests in England. The new year, but have given the feeling of a side with more gears to feed if necessary. Neither Jos Buttler nor Moeen Ali needed to bat during the pursuit in the third ODI, while Eoin Morgan, the captain, referred to the "good frustrations" in England's locker room after that same game, given that players of the caliber of Alex Hales, Sam Curran and Mark Wood can not even join the team today.
Sri Lanka, for its part, needs a measure of consistency above all else. His implosion in the third match was an example: 55 for 0 after five passes, 95 for 9 in his remaining 15, with the ardent introduction of Niroshan Dickwella that proved insufficient to ignite a competitive total. Then there is Malinga's performance in hot and cold to consider. He was impressive in adversity in Dambulla, his five windows showed all the old tricks that many feared he could no longer deliver. And yet, four days later, his dust display in Pallekele later seemed to deflate the entire attack.
Anything can happen in the course of an international day, particularly when Messrs. Duckworth, Lewis and Stern are involved in the permutations. . But it is difficult to see how the narrative of this stage of the tour can be changed in a hurry. England seems to have too much in reserve, Sri Lanka already seems to be beyond its limits. A rare victory in Asian conditions is very much at stake, but it is both a reflection on the struggles of Sri Lanka and the excellence of England that, if it happens, is unlikely to feel like a seismic triumph.
Form Guide  Sri Lanka LLLLW (the last five matches completed, the most recent first)