Sri Lanka’s Tour of England started in disastrous fashion in Cardiff, as the visitors went down by 8 wickets in the 1st T20I.
It was an abysmal display by the visitors from the word go as they lost opener Avishka Fernando in just the 2nd over of the game.
His dismissal seemed like a blessing in disguise for a short while, with Danushka Gunathilake and Skipper Kusal Perera putting on 28 off just 18 deliveries. Gunathilake looked perhaps the most fluent of all the Sri Lankan batsmen, but threw away his wicket once again, after a good start.
Dasun Shanaka started off shakily, but managed to hang in there long enough to cash in at the death overs, where he scored at a strike rate of 180+. The right-hander was able to get some valuable time in the middle, thanks to the early wickets and managed to take Sri Lanka across the 120-run mark.
The middle order crumbled in the face of a well-oiled England bowling unit, who stuck to their plans perfectly throughout the innings. On a track where the average 1st innings total stood at 149, the Sri Lankan batsmen seemed to confuse being fearless with being reckless, going for too many pre-meditated shots.
For England, Mark Wood bowled with searing pace, leaving the Sri Lankan batsmen clueless, before Adil Rashid cashed in on some rash shots to finish with figures of 2/17.
The total of 129 was well below par, particularly against an English team that was happy to chase and there was very little the Sri Lankan bowlers could do to restrict them.
With no threat with the new ball, the English openers eclipsed Sri Lanka’s innings boundary count in their power play, before cantering home with 8 wickets and 2.5 overs to spare.
Wanindu Hasaranga was once again left wicket-less, despite going for just 12 runs in his 4 overs, while Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Pradeep looked toothless against the likes of Jason Roy and Joe Buttler.
Buttler, returning to the team after missing the Tests against England last month, was at his prolific best, smashing 68 off 55 to ensure there were no surprises in the result of the game.
The teams will meet again on the 24th at the same venue for the 2nd T20I, before moving to Southampton for the 3rd game.