Malinga steers Sri Lanka to thrilling win over England in World Cup

21 June 2019 11:43 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


England were strangled into a shock 20-run defeat by Sri Lanka that dented their hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals and breathed life into the tournament.

Chasing 233 on an increasingly difficult pitch, the hosts were smothered by a brilliant Sri Lanka bowling performance in a compelling contest at Headingley.

When Ben Stokes was joined by last man Mark Wood, England still needed 47, but Stokes clubbed 23 from eight deliveries to make a deafening crowd believe.

Wood, though, edged Nuwan Pradeep behind to leave Stokes stranded on 82 not out and England 212 all out.

They had earlier restricted Sri Lanka to 232-9, with Angelo Mathews' painstaking 85 proving to be a match-winning innings.

England stay third in the 10-team table, but their three most difficult group games - against Australia, India and New Zealand - are still to come.

Sri Lanka climb to fifth, only two points behind England, their unlikely hopes of reaching the semi-finals still alive.

Before this match, there was the danger England, Australia, India and New Zealand would pull away to leave the elongated group stage nothing more than a procession towards the semi-finals.

On a sun-kissed day at Headingley, amid unbearable tension in front of a crowd fully invested in the action, Sri Lanka produced a display full of fight and spirit.

In doing so, they delighted their noisy pockets of fans that included a brass band that played non-stop, as well as injecting much-needed intrigue into the tournament.

At the same time, they have raised questions about an England side that hit a world record 25 sixes in demolishing Afghanistan at Old Trafford on Tuesday, but that failed to adapt to the difficult batting conditions in Leeds.

Some, like James Vince and Moeen Ali, fell in infuriating fashion, while Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler were fooled into playing across the slingy Lasith Malinga, who claimed 4-43.

Just like when their fielding cost them against Pakistan, England helped engineer their own downfall and, as it stands, will have to find at least one win from their remaining games if they are to make the last four.

Although England were finding run-scoring tough against the probing Sri Lankan bowling, there was no panic while Joe Root was moving towards 57 in the company of Stokes.


When Sri Lanka called for a review that revealed Root was caught down the leg side off Malinga, England unravelled.

After Buttler was pinned, Moeen, playing his 100th ODI, brainlessly looked for his second successive six off Dhananjaya de Silva and was caught at long-off.

In his next over, the spinner had both Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid caught behind, while Jofra Archer holed out to long-off in a collapse of 4-16.

Through it all, Stokes remained, unflappable, but now having to farm the strike with only Wood for company.

He was dropped in the deep on 57, then launched back-to-back sixes to draw noise that rocked Headingley to its foundations.

However, he left Wood to face the final ball of Pradeep's 10-over spell. The number 11's poke nestled in the gloves of the wicketkeeper, and England were beaten.

While England were putting in an excellent display with the ball and in the field, Mathews crawled along, looking entirely like a batsman whose previous highest score in this tournament was just nine.

Only late on did he show any intent, but by that time he was rapidly running out of partners.

When Sri Lanka were 3-2 after winning the toss, the day could have been short, only for Avishka Fernando to sparkle for 49, including two sixes pulled off Archer.

After he uppercut Wood to third man, England spinners Moeen and Rashid bowled in tandem to suffocate Sri Lanka.

It was Rashid, looking back to near his best, who had Kusal Mendis well held by Eoin Morgan at mid-wicket and then, next ball, Jeevan Mendis caught and bowled.

Wood and Archer worked through the lower order, with Wood particularly impressive - his yorker to bowl Malinga was clocked at 93mph.

All the while, Mathews plodded on. At no point was he interested in playing the modern, ultra-aggressive one-day game, but he had the application to battle with both himself and the England bowlers.

England captain Eoin Morgan: "In the chase we didn't do the basics of getting substantial partnerships going.

"We had a couple of good individual performances but Sri Lanka thoroughly deserved to win.

"We didn't do enough to win the game and even if we had nicked it then it would have been us robbing the game with an outstanding individual performance."

Former England assistant coach Paul Farbrace on Test Match Special: "England will know their performance today hasn't been good enough to win the game and it is a game they should be winning.

"(Head coach) Trevor Bayliss talks lot about smart cricket and at times they did not play smart cricket.

"They don't make excuses. Eoin Morgan will call it as he sees it. There won't be any shouting or finger pointing but there will be some quiet conversations with some players about their modes of dismissals."

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne: "It was a close one, we were under pressure but it was teamwork in the end - all the batters and bowlers did great work.

"We thought this wicket looked like a 300 pitch but it was slower than we thought. We knew we couldn't get 300, so wanted 250-275 until we lost some wickets but Angelo Mathews batted really well.

"With a score on the board the bowlers knew what to do on this wicket.

"The Root wicket was the turning point. We were not confident but thought we would go for the review and thankfully for us that was the turning point." a

Sri Lanka 232 for 9 (Mathews 85*, Avishka 49, Kusal Mendis 46, Wood 3-40, Archer 3-52) beat England 212 (Stokes 82*, Root 57, Malinga 4-43, Dhananjaya 3-32) by 20 runs


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