Sri Lanka exhibited their dominance by defeating England with an eight-wicket victory. The ENG vs SL match played on Thursday, was a test of resilience for both teams.
Both England and Sri Lanka entered the contest with nearly identical records, each having won just one match and suffered three defeats.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, England started the innings with a sense of urgency, quickly reaching a commendable 45-0 by the seventh over. Jonny Bairstow, who had displayed an impeccable form, played a scintillating knock, contributing 30 runs from 31 deliveries.
However, Sri Lanka’s seasoned all-rounder, Angelo Mathews, who had been a surprising inclusion in the squad, turned the tide of the match in favor of the Sri Lankans.
Mathews, making his first ODI appearance since March 2020, displayed his experience by claiming key wickets.
He dismissed the dangerous Dawid Malan for 28 and also orchestrated the run-out of Joe Root for just three runs, adding Moeen Ali to his list of victims with 15 runs to his name.
The Sri Lankan bowlers continued their onslaught, with Kasun Rajitha getting into the act, scalping Jonny Bairstow’s wicket, leaving the English side at 123-7 in the 26th over. Lahiru Kumara, the fast bowler, managed to dismiss both Captain Jos Buttler and the returning Liam Livingstone.
Chris Woakes faced a torrid time in the middle, falling for a duck in just four balls to Rajitha. With England’s hopes resting on Ben Stokes, who had scored a valiant 43 runs off 73 deliveries, the tension in the stadium was all-time high.
But even Stokes couldn’t single-handedly rescue his team as he eventually holed out to a substitute fielder, Dushan Hemantha, off Lahiru Kumara. England’s innings came to an abrupt end, with the scoreboard reading 137-8.
The tail-enders struggled to put up any resistance, as Adil Rashid was involved in a comical run-out, and spinner Maheesh Theekshana dismissed Mark Wood to wrap up England’s innings for a paltry 156 runs.
With the target set, Sri Lanka’s batsmen showed their mettle and chased down the total comfortably, securing a comprehensive eight-wicket victory.
Pathum Nissankanot and Sadeera Samarawickrama remained not out with 77 runs and 65 runs, respectively. Both players led their team with much-needed wins and almost closed doors for England to reach in World Cup 2023 semi-final.