There are one-day internationals that live long in memory and sadly this will not be one of them, England claimed a five-wicket victory against Sri Lanka and at one point threatened to do so before their footballing counterparts began.
As it stood, the big game at Wembley was 29 minutes long when Sam Curran scored the winning runs with 91 balls to spare, and 7,500 spectators wandered off to find a television screen; His was clearly a nice day, the northeast sunny and the beer plentiful, but the cricket had only been fleetingly competitive.
This was due in part to the clinical excellence of Chris Woakes, his four-for-18 figures helped to defeat the tourists by just 185 in 42.3 overs, while Jonny Bairstow also came out of the traps in the chase with a 43 of 21 balls. . which once again underscored the strength he has become as a white ball opener.
But while Sri Lanka briefly threatened to cause some panic, Dushmantha Chameera’s two wickets brought England down to 80-fours in the twelfth second, Joe Root delivered a typically frictionless 79, not 87-ball with just four fours to seal. the series advantage 1-0. . If Kusal Perera hadn’t dropped Moeen Ali’s first ball, heading to 28 in a 91 position with Root, things could have been different.
“Joe’s innings were a very reassuring influence, as usual,” said Woakes, who had previously presented Root with his 150th ODI limit. “It was a great shock to see us at home. It certainly reminded people today that it is a class act. We have an aggressive lineup, but he’s the glue in the middle. “
Already badly hurt by their 3-0 loss in the Twenty20 series, Sri Lanka had caught Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka on the first flight home (economy class, stood out) after they broke the biosecurity rules of the team on Sunday. night. It left the tourists with three newcomers, an unbalanced lineup and looking ready for the shot.
England didn’t seem to be in the mood to fool around, Eoin Morgan chose to pitch in the draw and saw Woakes and David Willey hit three times on the power play. Sri Lanka captain Perera threw 32 of just 16 balls within the first 10 overs and 73 of 81 overall, but could only despair at the other end when the wickets fell.
Woakes, it must be said, was flawless in a burst of five more that gave up just six runs, fooling Pathum Nissanka with a slower rebound and hitting overpromoted Dasun Shanaka. Willey took a bit of a hit, but claimed the window of newcomer Charith Asalanka as Root held onto the slip.
From 46 of three in the ninth over Sri Lanka he rebounded via a 99-run stoppage by Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga, the latter dispatching some inventive punches from teammate Adil Rashid on a 54-of-65 balls that threatened to turn the tide.
Woakes’ return sparked a seven-by-40-wicket collapse that was plagued with indecision, however, Hasaranga perished to a good catch deep in the depths by Liam Livingstone and Root improved on his previous sliding take when left-hander Dhananjaya Lakshan fenced in a cross stitch ball.
Perera had brushed off the punches to the hand and biceps of Curran, an unlikely enforcer, it must be said, but when he dug out Willey at 33, amid 3-for-44 figures from the left arm in his 50th game, It didn’t take long for the rest of the water in the tub to disappear through the hole in the stopper.
The race for the tail was chaotic: Head coach Mickey Arthur was fuming on the balcony, and although England didn’t take every opportunity here, and a fall by Root denied Mark Wood a wicket on his home turf, it was He felt fitting that a Sam Billings laser direct hit should close the entrances.
Bairstow flew out of the traps in response with six fours and a whopping six, but by the end of the sixth both he and Livingstone (opening in Jason Roy’s absence) were gone. When Chameera knocked out Morgan and Billings in six-ball space, England were still 106 runs short of their target.
Once Moeen had gotten rid of his aberration from the first ball, he and Root set out to chisel out the rest. Moeen finally handed the stunning Chameera a third wicket when she dived from the inside edge but, with 15 runs to go, the result had been a long-overdue formality.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism