Stone can plug Plun­kett gap, says Mor­gan

Tourists win by 31 runs to take 1-0 lead in ODI se­ries Pace­man soon seizes his chance with early wicket

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Nick Hoult CRICKET NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT In Dam­bulla

Olly Stone needed just seven balls to take his first in­ter­na­tional wicket and an­nounce his ar­rival as an Eng­land fast bowler as Eoin Mor­gan’s team took a 1-0 lead in the one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries against Sri Lanka.

Stone, 25, has had a ca­reer be­set by in­jury but showed few nerves as he took his chance to lay down a marker for Eng­land’s World Cup squad.

He bounced out Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dick­wella and bowled with pace and ag­gres­sion to com­plete a good day for Mor­gan, who scored 92 to put his team in a strong po­si­tion. The mon­soon even­tu­ally cut the game short but Eng­land won the sec­ond one-day in­ter­na­tional – the first was a washout – by 31 runs on the Duck­worth-Lewis method.

Eng­land have lots of depth in their bat­ting but bowl­ing has been a weak link in their rise to the top of the world rank­ings. Stone now gives Mor­gan com­pe­ti­tion for places with Liam Plun­kett miss­ing the first three games of this se­ries for his wed­ding. Tom and Sam Cur­ran are both in this squad and Mark Wood was left out yes­ter­day for the ex­tra spin­ner, Liam Daw­son.

“Olly was re­laxed and bowled like he did in the nets,” said Mor­gan. “He bowled with pace and did it all with a calm head on his shoul­ders.

“If there has not been a huge amount of depth in one po­si­tion it has been re­plac­ing Liam Plun­kett. He was in­jured in Aus­tralia and we found it very hard to find a bowler with his at­tributes who could bowl quick at any stage but there were signs to­day Olly could be one of those guys. Even tak­ing the new ball gives him an­other string to his bow, Liam does not take the new ball.”

Eng­land beat Sri Lanka and the mon­soon rains to go 1-0 up in the one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries, but much more im­por­tantly they leave Dam­bulla with a new fast bowler who could be a star of next year’s World Cup.

Olly Stone’s pace and bounce on a slow Sri Lankan pitch was the glim­mer of jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for play­ing a se­ries that is re­ally only de­signed to fill tele­vi­sion sched­ules and hon­our bi­lat­eral obli­ga­tions be­tween the two coun­tries, which is why it has been shoe­horned into the rainy sea­son.

Stone po­ten­tially pro­vides Eoin Mor­gan, Eng­land’s white-ball cap­tain, with the fi­nal piece in an al­ready im­pos­ing one-day team. The 25-year-old War­wick­shire fast bowler bagged his first in­ter­na­tional wicket with his sev­enth ball, bounc­ing out Niroshan Dick­wella.

He then wel­comed Kusal Per­era by hit­ting him on the shoul­der first ball. He struck ei­ther the bat hard or the body of the bats­man, and if he keeps this up he could force him­self into the Test team too, with cap­tain Joe Root us­ing this five-match se­ries as a chance to sit back and as­sess his op­tions.

Eng­land won by 31 runs by the Duck­worth-Lewis method, with Sri Lanka 140 for five, chas­ing 279, when the heavy rain ar­rived. Sri Lanka ham­mered Stone a bit when he came back on to bowl as they chased the DL tar­get but it was not enough to dent the good im­pres­sion he made on his cap­tain, whose 92 was the corner­stone of his team’s win.

“If there has not been a huge amount of depth in one po­si­tion it has been re­plac­ing Liam Plun­kett,” Mor­gan said. “He has been mas­sive for us for the past few years. He went down in­jured in Aus­tralia and we found it very hard to find a bowler with his at­tributes who could bowl quick at any stage in the 50 overs, but there were signs to­day that Olly could be one of those guys. Even tak­ing the new ball gives him an­other string to his bow – Liam does not take the new ball.

“He was re­laxed and he bowled like he did in the nets. He bowled with pace and got it mov­ing and did it all with a calm head on his shoul­ders.”

Of­fi­cially, this was Stone’s sec­ond game af­ter Wed­nes­day’s washout, but it was the first time he had man­aged to get the ball in his hands.

He com­bined nicely with his county col­league Chris Woakes, who hit the seam and bowled a full length, as Sri Lanka were blown away by Eng­land’s new-ball at­tack, los­ing three wick­ets for 20 runs in the first five overs as if they were play­ing on a green top in Durham rather than in the Dam­bulla jun­gle. It was these early wick­ets that put them so far be­hind when the rain ar­rived.

Eng­land have been itch­ing to see Stone bowl in earnest. The chat­ter all week has been that Stone has rushed peo­ple in the nets and Jos But­tler ad­mit­ted that fac­ing him has not been fun. With Plun­kett miss­ing the first three games of this se­ries to get mar­ried this is Stone’s chance, es­pe­cially when he was picked ahead of Mark Wood.

Some­times play­ers can be ner­vous when bowl­ing for Eng­land for the first time and cut down on their speed to main­tain ac­cu­racy, but that is not the way in Mor­gan’s ODI team. He wants play­ers to ex­press them­selves.

Stone reached 90mph in his first over as he seized his chance. His first spell was a tidy one, too, with his four overs cost­ing only seven runs.

Eng­land’s to­tal of 278 for nine felt a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing af­ter the per­for­mances of Root and Mor­gan, Eng­land’s two best play­ers of spin, who made 71 and 92 re­spec­tively.

Root was sub­lime on his way to his half-cen­tury, tak­ing on Sri Lanka’s mys­tery spin­ners and em­ploy­ing his foot­work and pre­ci­sion to pick his spots.

Mor­gan started slowly but swept well, find­ing his scor­ing range as he took the at­tack to Sri Lanka, even though he was not al­ways com­fort­able pick­ing the vari­a­tions of left-arm wrist­spin­ner Lak­shan San­dakan.

Root eased to 50 off 54 balls but then be­came a lit­tle bogged down and his frus­tra­tion was summed up by the whack of bat on pad when he was caught off a lead­ing edge.

At 209 for four with 10 overs to go, Eng­land were full steam ahead for the fi­nal as­sault that is their spe­cial­ity. But La­sith Malinga rolled back the years with the type of death-bowl­ing per­for­mance that has made him a very rich man.

He also bowled well with the new ball, and, with a keen eye on the World Cup, he has lost weight by work­ing hard on his fit­ness to fight his way back into the Sri Lanka team at the age of 35.

But it is with the old ball, in the fi­nal few overs, when bats­men are ready to take him on, that Malinga re­veals his full range of skills. He held back the yorker un­til Eng­land’s fi­nal charge, when they lost five wick­ets for 36, start­ing with cap­tain Mor­gan, caught off a lead­ing edge for 92.

Moeen Ali was bowled first ball by a late-dip­ping yorker and Woakes was lbw to an­other full de­liv­ery. Liam Daw­son was then bowled by a Malinga spe­cial and Eng­land had to bat out the last three overs with the fi­nal pair at the crease.

Nev­er­the­less, their 278 al­ways felt a tar­get too far for a Sri Lanka team un- sure of their best bat­ting line-up and so short on con­fi­dence.

Dick­wella pulled out the Dilscoop in the first over, lift­ing Woakes for six over long leg, but mo­ments later Upal Tha­ranga was out first ball to a Woakes beauty that pitched on off and just nipped away.

Stone then an­nounced his ar­rival. A short ball sur­prised Dick­wella, who gloved a loop­ing catch that plopped into the gloves of But­tler, drop­ping as slowly as one of Malinga’s york­ers.

With the clouds brew­ing up over the hills, Mor­gan brought on his spin­ners to whip through the overs, know­ing that if the in­nings reached 20 overs it would con­sti­tute a game. Sri Lanka slogged some bound­aries but the jun­gle rain was not go­ing to be held back.

Im­pres­sive: Olly Stone took his chance to shine against Sri Lanka and lay down a World Cup marker

Break­through: Olly Stone is con­grat­u­lated by Eng­land team­mates af­ter tak­ing his first ODI wicket with the dis­missal of Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dick­wella

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.