England posted 278-9 in the first innings of the second ODI before restricting Sri Lanka’s response to 140-5 in 29 overs as the monsoon rains stopped proceedings in Dambulla.
England secured a 31-run victory after the rain put a damper on proceedings once more in the second ODI against Sri Lanka to take the No 1-ranked ODI team up 1-0 in the five-match series.
England had a shaky start to their innings with the loss of opener Jason Roy for a duck in the first over after being inserted to bat by the home team. Joe Root walked to the crease a lot sooner than expected and played his part in stabilising the innings alongside Jonny Bairstow (26 off 40 balls, three fours).
It was Root who was the main aggressor in his second-wicket partnership with Bairstow as he scored most of the runs in their 72-run stand. Bairstow played an uncharacteristic innings (his innings strike rate of 65.00 falling well short of his average of 105.29) before being put out of his misery by Thisara Perera as the paceman got through Bairstow’s defences and clean bowled him with the final delivery of the 14th over.
It was ODI captain Eoin Morgan who stepped up to the crease with England on 72-2, looking to give impetus to the innings. Morgan duly complied as he brought out his destructive best against the Sri Lankan bowling attack.
Morgan and Root put together a 68-run partnership as Root reached his first half-century of the series. The two were going along nicely before Root edged a delivery from Dhananjaya de Silva to Akila Dhananjaya at cover for 71 runs off 83 balls, including six fours.
Morgan continued the onslaught as he smashed 11 fours and two sixes on his way to 92 off 91 balls. He was unlucky to miss out on his century after chipping a slower ball off Lasith Malinga back to the fast bowler for a simple return catch. Malinga was back to his finest form as he showed once more how destructive he can be against any batting order. The paceman was the pick of the Sri Lankan attack as he picked up the five wickets at a team-best economy of 4.40, finished with figures of 5-44 in his 10 overs and made a compelling case for his ambition of leading Sri Lanka’s frontlines in the upcoming World Cup.
Thanks to Malinga’s heroics, England could only manage 278-9 in their 50 overs when a bigger total was on the cards while they were in full swing.
Chris Woakes did most of the damage for the travelling side in the second innings as he terrorised the Sri Lankan top order with his accurate good-length deliveries on off-stump. He dismissed opener Upul Tharanga for a golden duck in the first over of the innings before dispatching Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal (six off 13 balls, one four) and No 5 Dasun Shanaka (eight off 15 balls, one four) within the first powerplay in his opening bowling spell.
It was resilient performances from De Silva (36 not out off 50 balls, two fours, one six) and Perera (44 not out off 49 balls, one four, three sixes) that added a bit of respectability to the hosts’ response as the two helped the Islanders to 140-5 in 29 overs before the heavens opened up.
The encounter was soon called off and England secured a 31-run victory thanks to the DLS method.
The two sides will face off in Kandy for the third ODI on Wednesday and the home country will look to post a tougher challenge against the English to get themselves on the board in the series.
Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images