Cap­tain’s in­nings by Mor­gan gives Eng­land se­ries lead over Sri Lanka

The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - RORY DOL­LARD DAM­BULLA

Eoin Mor­gan paved the way for a com­fort­able Eng­land vic­tory over Sri Lanka with a cap­tain’s in­nings of 92 in the sec­ond one­day in­ter­na­tional.

Mor­gan sug­gested ear­lier this week he would be pre­pared to drop him­self be­fore next year’s World Cup if he no longer jus­ti­fied a place in the team but on this form that is as likely as a dry day in Dam­bulla.

The se­ries opener was washed out by thun­der­storms and although the heavy rain again forced a pre­ma­ture end to pro­ceed­ings at the Ran­jiri Sta­dium, the tourists did enough to come away with a 31-run win on the Duck­worth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.

Olly Stone will also re­mem­ber the day fondly af­ter his de­but fell foul of the weather, rais­ing pulses with a rapid spell of fast bowl­ing and tak­ing his first in­ter­na­tional scalp with a bouncer that left Niroshan Dick­wella flail­ing. Eng­land’s 278 for nine, built around Mor­gan’s mea­sured ef­fort and Joe Root’s in­dus­tri­ous 71, proved plenty de­spite a nos­tal­gia-in­duc­ing spell from La­sith Malinga.

The 35- year- old Malinga rolled back the years to claim five for 44. Af­ter be­ing asked to bat first Eng­land suf­fered their first set­back be­fore a run had been scored, Ja­son Roy turn­ing Malinga’s fourth ball oblig­ingly to mid-wicket.

The York­shire pair Jonny Bairstow and Root en­sured no more early dra­mas with stand of 72.

Bairstow, by con­trast, never quite found his feet. The opener be­came only the sixth English­man to score 1,000 One Day In­ter­na­tional runs in a cal­en­dar year but when he lost his off-stump to This­ara Per­era it was no great sur­prise.

Root ben­e­fited from Mor­gan’s ar­rival, the Ir­ish­man trou­bled at first by spin but al­ways ready with a punchy ri­poste.

The only two sixes of the in­nings be­longed to him, a clean strike off This­ara and a bru­tal blow back over Dhanan­jaya de Silva.

Root, al­ready dropped on 48, had be­gun to tire when he chipped De Silva to cover via a lead­ing edge – 309 runs and four games since his last dis­missal.

Mor­gan re­sponded by putting the pres­sure back on Sri Lanka with a se­ries of ag­gres­sive strokes. An 11th cen­tury was call­ing when Malinga in­ter­vened, draw­ing a mis-hit off the toe end and gath­er­ing the re­turn catch.

Malinga’s trade­mark york­ers went on to ac­count for Moeen Ali, Woakes and Liam Daw­son as Sri Lanka bat­tled back to the tune of five for 69 in the last 10 overs.

Any pos­si­bil­ity of cap­i­tal­is­ing evap­o­rated al­most in­stantly as their ex­pe­ri­enced top or­der were blown away.

Woakes found a nag­ging groove out­side off stump and soon started find­ing edges, Upul Tha­ranga and Da­sun Shanaka nick­ing be­hind and cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal play­ing on.

Niroshan Dick­wella briefly re­called pre­de­ces­sor Til­lakaratne Dil­shan with a brave lap-sweep off Woakes but Stone took care of him.

Hopes are high that the War­wick­shire man be­come Eng­land’s 90 mph bat­ter­ing ram and his wicket fanned those flames, dug in short, ris­ing vi­ciously and crash­ing into the bats­man’s glove.

The con­test was ef­fec­tively lost at 31 for four and although This­ara (44no) led a mid­dle-or­der re­vival, their 29-over score of 140 for five was nowhere near enough when the rain came. THE IN­DE­PEN­DENT

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