CHESTER-LE-STREET: Sri Lanka came up with the perfect response to their defeat in the first one-day international against England as they swept aside Alastair Cook’s team in the second meeting at the Riverside on Sunday. The England captain was injured and could only watch in dismay from the dressing room as optimism generated by their impressive win at The Oval disintegrated in a 157-run defeat. There was talk of an exciting new era for English cricket after the 81-run win three days earlier, but this was a sobering reminder of recent setbacks as they were destroyed by the Sri Lankans.
The match was effectively settled inside the first seven overs of the England reply to Sri Lanka’s 256-8, a total that owed much to the concentration of Tillakaratne Dilshan in the early stages. With conditions improving, it was a total that should have been well within England’s reach, but they simply could not cope with the opening spells of Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga. Michael Carberry, recalled because of injury to Cook was the first to go, caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara off the bowling of Kulasekara. The same pair accounted for the other opening batsman, Ian Bell with the total on 26 and Joe Root swiftly followed, bowled by Malinga before scoring.
When Gary Ballance was lbw to Kulasekara, the Sri Lankan had taken three wickets for one run in 11 deliveries and England were reduced to 29-4. There was no way back for a team led by Eoin Morgan, although the stand-in skipper and Ravi Bopara finally gave the innings some stability, facing 24 balls without scoring at one stage. It meant they had added only 17 runs when Bopara was the next to depart, bowled by Sachithra Senanayake. And the procession continued when Jos Buttler lobbed up the first delivery from Angelo Mathews and Senanayake took an acrobatic catch. It was the worst shot of an innings with several candidates for that title, reducing England to 55-6 and leaving the new batsman, Chris Jordan, with enough time to show whether he can build an innings as well as score rapid runs.
The answer soon came when he was lbw to Senanayake after scoring just one run in three deliveries. Jordan’s appeal against the decision simply reflected the desperation of the England players. Morgan remained an obstinate barrier to Sri Lanka and was the main reason they passed their lowest-ever ODI total - 86 against Australia in 2001 - before he was caught on the boundary for 40. England failed to reach three figures and their total of 99 was their fifth lowest in ODI cricket.
Earlier, Dilshan was the key figure in the Sri Lankan innings when they were put in to bat after losing the toss. Dilshan was involved in an intriguing battle with James Anderson at the start of the day as the cloud cover helped the England seam bowler. Dilshan emerged on top and survived for more than 37 overs to finish with 88 runs before becoming the only victim for Chris Jordan. Harry Gurney claimed three wickets towards the end of the innings, but Anderson was the pick of the England bowlers and finished with 2-38, including his 250th wicket in ODI cricket. Ashan Priyanjan added an important 43 runs for the tourists, who set a target of 257 that was never within reach for England because of their feeble batting and the devastating opening burst from Sri Lanka’s pacemen.
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