After a clean sweep in the T20 series, the Englishmen were back on their winning spree against the young & off-balance Sri Lankans. The already struggling Sri Lanka lost three of their players due to a bio-bubble breach before the first ODI.
Sri Lanka Cricket suspended three players, including Wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, batsman Kushal Mendis & opener Danushanka Gunathilaka. They were found roaming the streets of Durham after the final T20 match on Sunday.
This was a major setback as all these players were supposed to be in the playing XI. This resulted in another loss for Sri Lanka as they were completely outplayed by England.
England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss & elected to bowl first. The English team did a commendable job in the first innings, bowling them out for a mere total of 185 in 42.3 overs.
It was not like the depleted Sri-Lankan team did not have a chance. After the 99 runs 4th wicket stand between Captain Kusal Perera and Wanidu Hasaranga, there was a chance of a creditable total, but all they could get was 185. Another ray of hope in the form of 3 quick wickets by Dushmantha Chameera and a missed opportunity of Moeen Ali’s wicket displayed a slim opportunity of winning once again, but this didn’t do any good too.
The red-hot form, Chris Woakes, who scalped four wickets in his economical spell of 18 runs in 10 overs. He was also awarded the Player of the Match award for his amazing spell. Apart from Woakes, fellow bowler David Willey also went on from the other end & took three wickets for 44 runs. Things became worse when the already struggling Sri Lanka lost their last two wickets in the form of run-outs.
In the batting department, Johnny Bairstow played just as he does and scored a quickfire 43 from 21 balls. After Bairstow’s wicket, England lost four quick wickets on the score of 80. Although Joe Root with his unbeaten 79(87 saved the day with the experienced all-rounder Moeen Ali 28(57).
The only Positives to take away from this match for the visitors were the captain’s knock under pressure and the fighting spirit displayed from a very young team.
A comfortable victory was anyway expected after a pretty easy win in the T20 series. The gulf between the two sides widened when six of the playing XI members were unavailable for this game. Where the bio-bubble-popping-trio were on their way back home, Avishka Fernando & Dhananjaya De Silva were out through injury & Oshada Fernando was unavailable due to illness.
The visitors were left with very little choice and to play a very inexperienced side as Charitha Asalanka, Dhananjaya Lakshan & Praveen Jayawickrama made their ODI debut. On the other hand, Binura Fernando, Ramesh Mendis & Chamika Karunaratne were playing their second match.
Sri Lankan legends are not at all happy with the performance of their national team. It seemed like the country lost its rhythm after the retirement of some of the main players like Sangakara, Jayawardena, Thisara Perrera, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Matthews, etc.