The Sunday Leader

CRUSHED Clinical Lanka outplay England

By Dion Michael

A clinical all-round performance by Sri Lanka saw them crush a sorry England team by the massive margin of eight wickets with ten overs to spare in their Second ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.

After their bowlers had restricted England to a well below par 185, the hosts shrugged off the loss of two early wickets to cruise to victory on the back of a scintillating unbroken 149-run for the third wicket between experienced campaigners Kumar Sangakkara 67 not out and Mahela Jayawardene unbeaten on 77.

Sri Lanka needing to score at just four runs an over began with a bang with Tillekeratne Dilshan taking 12 off Steven Finn’s opening over with three fours. At the other end fellow opener Kusal Perera was more circumspect but the pair kept the scoreboard ticking with 27 in the first four overs.

England had some respite when Perera (9) was dismissed after miscuing a pull and was caught by Bopara off Finn and then Moeen Ali exacted some revenge when he had Dilshan caught by Woakes for 26.

At 37 for two, it seemed that England had got back on even terms and could make the contest a little tighter but the veteran pairing of Sangakkara and Jayawardene quickly snuffed out those hopes.

The duo began watchfully and milked the singles but then they stepped up a gear finding the boundaries with ease as they brought up their century stand. They then decided to hurry things up and thumped 38 runs in the last three overs to end England’s torture.

Earlier, England won what seemed to be a crucial toss and decided to have first lease of the wicket and his decision gained support from the hosts skipper Angelo Mathews who admitted that he would have also batted first on the wicket which was expected to get slower during the game.

In the lead up to the game, Mathews had told media that his side was working on a plan to prevent the free scoring Moeen Ali who had blitzed his way to a maiden ODI century in the opening game – albeit in a losing cause.

That plan became clearly evident when Mathews tossed the ball to Tillekeratne Dilshan after bowling the opening over. Ali’s discomfort against spin early in his innings had been noted and the move paid rich dividends when Ali charged a delivery from Dilshan and was bowled off his pad for only 2 with the England score on seven.

The prized wicket of Ali energized the hosts and Mathews soon switched to an all spin attack from both ends and England without the free-scoring Ali, was easily strangled.

Ian Bell and Cook took the score to 36 before Bell (11) was dismissed by left arm spinner Rangana Herath. One run later Cook (22) departed falling to Dilshan for the second time in two games.

At 37 for three in the tenth over, Cook may well have regretted batting first. England desperately needed a long partnership but the Lankans were not quite ready to take their foot off the gas.

Joe Root (42) added 38 with Eoin Morgan (17) for the fourth wicket and then combined with Ravi Bopara (51) in a fifth wicket stand of 42 but the hosts kept a tight rein on them with Mathews constantly switching his four-man spin attack around.

England finally subsided for a well below par 185 in 43 overs failing to bat out their allotted 45 overs.

A minute’s silence, following the death two days ago of Phillip Hughes, preceded the match – and both teams took the field wearing black armbands in memory of the Australia Test batsman.



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