Sri Lanka suffer 5th straight series loss despite fightback from bowlers

Sri Lanka Tour of England | 2nd T20I

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Sri Lanka's Binura Fernando celebrates taking the wicket of England's Jonny Bairstow during the second T20i cricket match between England and Sri Lanka at Cardiff Wales Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on June 24, 2021. (Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lanka succumbed to their fifth straight T20I series defeat as England won the 2nd ODI by 5 wickets (DLS) to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series between the sides.

Having reduced the hosts to 36/4 in the 7th over, Sri Lanka dared to entertain some hope of an unlikely win, but a target of 112 (then reduced to 103 because of a rain delay), was never going to be enough against a team with the batting depth England possesses.

With all the top guns back in the shed, it was up to Liam Livingstone (29*) and Sam Billings (24) to take them across the line. The pair put on 54 for the 5th wicket to effectively secure the game, before Sam Curran (16*) came in and added the finishing touches to a dominant performance.

Sri Lanka’s bowlers tried their hardest, but the result was inevitable at the half-way stage of the game.

Binura Fernando (1/17), coming into the side to replace Nuwan Pradeep, made an impression straightaway, dismissing Jonny Bairstow early in the piece. Dushmantha Chameera (1/29) and Isuru Udana (1/25) also kept things tight early on and were rewarded with a wicket apiece. Wanindu Hasaranga was once again the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of 2/20.

The Sri Lankan batsmen looked out of their depth once again, unable to come to terms with the variation in the English attack. It was an astonishingly timid innings (from a team that had professed the need to play fearlessly) which included just 6 boundaries (4×4 & 2×6).

This was also the 1st time Sri Lanka failed to score a boundary in the powerplay of a T20I, their first boundary coming in the 8th over of the innings.

While you felt they played one shot too many in the 1st game, Sri Lanka went to the other extreme tonight, with an overly cautious approach. They tried to address the dot ball percentage, but that ultimately led to the run-out of the in-form Danushka Gunathilake, who tried to sneak a single but was caught short of his crease thanks to some fancy footwork from Sam Curran. Sri Lanka once again played out over 7 overs in dots too.

Nobody really got going in the innings and the visitors were in real danger of finishing with less than 100 on the board until Isuru Udana’s little cameo, which included 14 runs off the final over by Chris Jordan.

Kusal Mendis (39) made his highest score across formats since March 2020 but looked as rusty as ever. There were flashes of brilliance in the knock too, particularly a pull he played off Chris Jordan, which rose to the upper tier of the stands.

Udana was the only man to score at faster than a run-a-ball, while the two Kusals were the only batsmen to cross the 20-run mark for Sri Lanka as they put on 50 for the 3rd wicket.

Brief Scores

SL 111/7 (20) – K Mendis 39(39), K Perera 21(25), M Wood 2/18, A Rashid 2/24

ENG 108/5 (16.1) – L Livingstone 29* (26), S Billings 24 (29), W Hasaranga 2/20

England won by 5 wickets (DLS)