England beat Sri Lanka on DLS despite Lasith Malinga masterclass
Lasith Malinga’s first five-wicket haul in more than four years proved in vain as England beat Sri Lanka by 31 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method to move 1-0 up in their five-match one-day international series.
Rain washed out Wednesday’s opening match in Dambulla and also shortened Saturday’s second contest, a heavy downpour forcing a halt with Sri Lanka 140-5 off 29 overs in reply to England’s 278-9.
Captain Eoin Morgan and Test skipper Joe Root were the key contributors with the bat for the tourists, striking 92 and 71 respectively before Malinga took centre stage with a masterful display of death bowling.
The veteran seamer, now 35, finished with 5-44, but England’s total still proved sufficient as Sri Lanka made a dismal start in reply, slumping to 31-4 at the hands of Chris Woakes and Olly Stone.
Although the hosts rallied, thanks largely to an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 66 between Dhananjaya de Silva (36 not out) and Thisara Perera (44 not out), a thunderstorm prevented any grandstand finish and ensured England took victory.
After losing the toss, Morgan overcame a shaky start to compile his highest score since May 2017, the left-hander hitting 11 fours and two sixes in his 91-ball innings.
Root also impressed in a typically assured knock, but England lost their way in the closing overs as Malinga bamboozled the batsmen, using his trademark yorkers and slower balls to great effect.
While Malinga is surely in the latter stages of his illustrious career, England seamer Stone - who contributed to a valuable last-wicket stand of 24 with Adil Rashid - enjoyed his first taste of international bowling on Saturday and looked at home from the outset.
It was Woakes who claimed three of the four scalps to fall inside the first nine overs of Sri Lanka’s innings as the new-ball pairing excelled, but Stone was no less impressive.
With rain in the air, England claimed a fifth wicket with only 74 runs on the board as Kusal Perera pulled Liam Dawson to midwicket.
Thisara and Dhananjaya rallied strongly, the former striking two sixes in Rashid’s first over, but the heavens soon opened with Sri Lanka threatening a comeback victory.