England set 236 target

Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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England must chase a Duckworth-Lewis target of 236 in 35 overs to break their duck in the one-day international series against Sri Lanka.

Kumar Sangakkara (63), Lahiru Thirimanne (62no) and captain Angelo Mathews helped the hosts recover from an awkward start, having chosen to bat first before a three-and-a-half-hour rain interruption at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.

England kept taking wickets just when they needed them, notably Mathews to end his fourth-wicket stand of 87 with Sangakkara and then the latter at the start of Sri Lanka’s batting powerplay.

Yet the tourists’ batsmen still face a significant challenge to reduce arrears, from 2-0 down with five to play.

There was an emotional backdrop to this fixture, on the day of Phillip Hughes’ funeral, just as for the opening two matches in the series after the Australia Test batsman suffered a fatal blow when he was hit by a bouncer in the Sheffield Shield last week.

But as on those previous occasions, the considered decision was that play should go on here.

When it did, Chris Woakes (three for 41) made a breakthrough in the second over, before the players left the field with dark clouds casting semi-darkness and threatening heavy rain.

It was too late for Kusal Perera, already dismissed for a duck when he cut aerially to point.

Sri Lanka were six for one when the bad weather moved in, and on the resumption under lights England soon nipped out two more wickets.

Steven Finn rolled one back into the right-hander off the seam to bring Dilshan Tillakaratne’s faulty readjustment and edge behind off the back foot.

Then Thilina Kandamby’s first ODI innings in more than three years lasted just two balls, the second compliantly guided to slip off Woakes to register the second duck in Sri Lanka’s top four.

But Sangakkara, especially, and Mathews played very well as the England attack occasionally lost discipline on a good pitch.

When it seemed the hosts were getting away, Mathews got himself out – advancing to Chris Jordan and edging a wild swing behind.

Sangakkara passed his half-century in 53 balls but clothed a pull to mid on, having just hit Jordan for 10 off the first three balls of the 26th over.

Even so the hosts still had sufficient firepower, thanks to Thirimanne’s 39-ball 50 and then two successive sixes off Joe Root in tailender Dhammika Prasad’s 21 off eight balls, to bag 102 in the last 10 overs and finish on 242 for eight – before the D/L recalculation.

Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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