England recorded a 5-wicket win against the Lankans, ensuring the latter’s awful run in international Cricket continues.
It was yet another bad start for Sri Lanka after being put in to bat first. Following the bio-bubble breach saga, the visitors were forced to make wholesale changes to the team. As a result, youngsters Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya Lakshan and Praveen Jayawickrama were handed debuts.
They were reduced to 3 for 46 by the 9th over and struggled to keep their head above the water. The English bowlers feasted on the brittle Sri Lankan batting line-up. Chris Woakes in particular was impeccable as the right-arm seamer wrote figures of 4 for 18 against his name.
Opener Pathum Nissanka seemed out of his depth, while Charith Asalanka and Dasun Shanaka, who made the top-four, could not do much against the quality English attack either.
Sri Lanka was able to hang in there thanks to Kusal Perera. He partnered up with Wanindu Hasaranga, who by the looks of it enjoyed his extra time at the crease after being promoted up the order to no. 5 in the absence of 6 first choice batsmen.
Perera has been in fine form lately. His last ODI innings saw a match-winning hundred, while he was decent in the T20Is against England too. The southpaw played a clinical knock of 73 runs off 81 deliveries to take Sri Lanka an inch further away from humiliation, but his efforts went in vain.
Wanindu Hasaranga showed great maturity with the bat and looked fit to be in that top-five. He played spin brilliantly and maneuvered the field quite well to hit Adil Rashid over the infield in all directions. The busy right-hander made a valiant 54 runs off 65 deliveries.
The pair had to make sure that the scoring rate was not nose-diving at the same time. They managed to get 99 runs in 20 overs, keeping the run rate afloat. That partnership came to an end as Hasaranga was caught at mid-wicket trying to pull a surprise bouncer from Chris Woakes.
The hosts were right on the money throughout the game. Their bowlers did not give even a slight edge to Sri Lankan batters. The plan was to crowd the just-short length, and that is exactly what they did as the Sri Lankan batsmen kept struggling against the surprising bounce the wicket had on offer.
Nissanka, Asalanka, Perera, Wanindu and Binura Fernando were all victims of the short and rising deliveries.
England’s batting was not any different either – they wanted to see off Chameera and Wanindu and take no chances against them and they were quite successful, not that they needed huge planning to chase down this target.
Jonny Bairstow gave England a great start scoring 43 runs off just 21 deliveries. It looked as if he was batting on a completely different surface. Once Bairstow was dismissed, Joe Root picked up the baton from him.
Upon his return to the side, Joe Root proved his class with a workman-like knock worth 79 runs not-out. This was his 150th ODI and he let his experience speak for itself in the way he built this chase. He took nothing for granted and kept grinding hard against a spirited Lankan bowling attack.
Dushmantha Chameera kept on rising from strength to strength as the right-arm seamer bagged 3 wickets in this game too. Chameera’s efforts have been great but one cannot help but feel for him – since the start of the Bangladesh tour, he has picked up 18 wickets in 7 games across formats and lost 6 out of them.
With this loss, Sri Lanka will remain at the bottom of the ICC World Cup Super League table.