Joe Root and Eoin Morgan commanded with the bat early on before Chris Woakes picked up wickets later to see England take a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. The first ODI of the series was washed out after just 15 overs were bowled but there was enough in the second to get a result. When the drizzle turned into heavy rain, Sri Lanka were well behind the cutoff and after an hour of delay, England won by 31 runs under the DLS method.
England needed to bowl 20 overs in Sri Lanka’s chase to ensure a result and not have to play on the reserve day on Sunday. The weather held up until then with drizzle coming down at the time. To facilitate that, England bowled 10 overs in 31 minutes at one point with play being eventually stopped in the 29th over.
Batting first, England lost the plot to lose five wickets with 59 runs coming during the middle to latter part of the innings. But boosted by Root and skipper Morgan, did enough to get a competitive 278/9 total while looking like getting 300-plus at one stage. Morgan scored 92 runs from 91 balls but his attempt of a 12th ODI ton was stopped by Lasith Malinga who picked up a fifer.
Malinga’s figures of 5/44 made him the oldest seamer to take an ODI five-wicket haul since Wasim Akram in 2003. The Sri Lankan seamer picked up wickets of Jason Roy, Morgan and closed out the tail with dismissals of Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Liam Dawson.
Morgan saw support from Root who scored 71 runs from 83 balls and looked set for a century himself before giving a catch off a leading edge off the bowling of Dhananjaya de Silva.
Sri Lanka’s top order, chasing 279 runs, was off to a terrible start. Woakes picked up three wickets – including in the first over – to set Sri Lanka on the backfoot from the word go. Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal and Dasun Shanaka became Woakes’ prey to hurt the hosts. Olly Stone also picked up his maiden international wicket when he sent Niroshan Dickwella into the pavillion to put Sri Lanka 20/3 inside the first five overs.
A mini-recovery took Sri Lanka to 74/5 with a stand between Kusal Perera (30) and De Silva (36*) before Kusal pulled Liam Dawson to Jason Roy at mid-wicket for a soft dismissal.
With rain clouds starting to collect thick and fast, De Silva and Thisara Perera put together 66 runs to get them closer to the par score but they couldn’t get past it when the rain arrived and play was eventually stopped.