England pick up lead despite rain hurdle



Ominous clouds gather over Dambulla minutes before rain arrived © Getty

Rain had the final say once again in Dambulla, forcing abandonment of play 29 overs into the second innings, but atleast unlike the first ODI, there was enough time for a result. Sri Lanka, who were chasing 279, were restricted to 140 for 5 before rain pelted down and ensured the end of proceedings, giving England a 31-run win and a 1-0 lead in the five-match series on Saturday (October 13).

Sri Lanka’s batting woes from the Asia Cup continued, as they were reduced to 74 for 5 with their entire top order back in the shed in less than 16 overs. Chris Woakes was given a five-over spell upfront, and returned with three wickets for 26 runs. Upul Tharanga, skipper Dinesh Chandimal and Dasun Shanaka all fell to Woakes for single figures before Olly Stone bounced out Niroshan Dickwella for his maiden one-day wicket.

Kusal Perera resisted and held his end for a hard-fought 30 before falling to Liam Dawson, bringing together the pair of Thisara Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva. The pair counterattacked for a 66-run unbeaten stand that came in 13 overs before rain forced the teams to leave the field. It persisted for long enough for the game to be called off as the series moves to Kandy. Perera remained unbeaten on 44 off 41, while de Silva had 36 against his name.

Earlier, Sri Lanka did well to keep England down to 278 for 9 in 50 overs. From a stage where it seemed like England would run away with the game and post an imposing total, Lasith Malinga’s struck at crucial moments, which gave him a five-wicket haul. Malinga had first eked out a leading edge off the blade of Jason Roy for a duck before Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow stitched a 72-run stand to revive England’s innings. The pitch, which was also used in the previous game, offered turn but Root took on the array of Sri Lankan spinners. While Bairstow struggled to get bat on ball, Root looked comfortable, picking out singles, rotating the strike with the occasional boundary. Root was handed a life when on 48, eventually reaching his half-century off 54 balls.

Perera’s disciplined line and length made scoring tough for England. The pressure got to Bairstow, who wasted another start, departing for 26 with his stumps shattered. Eoin Morgan then joined Root in the middle to add 68 for the third wicket as England seemed on course to get to at least 300. Morgan was sedate during his stand with Root, but once Root departed after a soft dismissal with a leading edge straight to cover for 71 (off 83), the England captain switched gears and attacked.

Ben Stokes was undone by a googly from Dananjaya, while Morgan raced away to his fifty. He was on the brink of a century when Malinga returned to deceive Morgan with a fuller slower ball that he could only lob back to the bowler. Malinga plucked out the catch to end Morgan’s 91-ball 92 that comprised of 11 fours and two sixes. He then found himself on a hat-trick after Moeen Ali didn’t read his slower-ball yorker. The hat-trick didn’t come, but Malinga had done the damage.

Jos Buttler played a handy cameo, with 28 runs coming in 25 balls, but was bowled by Nuwan Pradeep. Malinga returned and appealed for a leg before against Chris Woakes. The on-field umpire adjudged him not out, but Sri Lanka decided to review. The decision was overturned as Malinga picked up his fourth. He finished with another five-wicket haul after castling Liam Dawson with an unplayable slow-dipping yorker. He finished with figures of 5 for 44.

England still managed to amass 69 off the final 10 overs, with Adil Rashid scoring 15-ball 19 in the company of Olly Stone.

Brief scores: England 278/9 in 50 overs (Joe Root 71, Eoin Morgan 92; Lasith Malinga 5-44) beat Sri Lanka 140/5 in 29 overs (Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva 36*, Thisara Perera 44*; Chris Woakes 3-26) by 31 runs by DLS Method.

© Cricbuzz


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