COLOMBO: Sri Lanka produced a fabulous all-round performance in the fifth and final ODI to earn a comprehensive 219-run DLS method win over a much-changed England side.
England fell well short of their 367-run target and were 132/9 after 26.1 overs before rain brought the inevitable forward. Led by Jos Buttler in the absence of Eoin Morgan, who rested himself to give others an opportunity, England suffered their record ODI defeat.
From the moment Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and chose to bat on a superb surface in Colombo everything went to plan for the home side. Openers Niroshan Dickwella and Sadeera Samarawickrama gave their team the strong start they’ve been lacking, putting on 137 in just over 19 overs after getting off to a flyer against the new-look new-ball pairing of Mark Wood and Sam Curran.
With the series secure at 3-0, England had made a number of changes and the rustiness of Wood (0/55 off 8), Sam Curran (0/46 off 6) and Liam Plunkett (1/44 off 5) was evident. The Sri Lankan batsmen took full advantage and applied pressure throughout. When Dickwella, the second wicket of the innings and second for Moeen Ali (2/57 off 8) fell just five runs short of a magnificent century, Sri Lanka had the perfect platform at 168/2 in the 26th over.
Skipper Chandimal was in fine form and marshalled the innings expertly at No.3, batting all the way through to the 46th over for a 73-ball 80 that ensured his side took full advantage of their excellent start. He and Kusal Mendis, who returned to the side at No.4, put on an excellent 102-run partnership that got Sri Lanka to 270 in the 39th over when Mendis fell for 56. Smart batting in the last 10 overs from Dhananjaya de Silva (19) and Akila Dananjaya (18) helped the team to 366 from their full 50, with de Silva belting a six off Tom Curran last ball.
The tourists are no strangers to scoring big totals in recent times but chasing 367 to win – even on a good surface – was always going to be a challenge. They got off to the worst possible start with Sri Lanka fired up.
A terrific opening over from Kasun Rajita ended with Jason Roy’s off-stump comprehensively disturbed. Having been beaten all ends up past his outside edge first ball, Roy managed a single boundary off his legs before being bowled off the final delivery in an eventful first over of the chase. Sri Lanka seemed intent to make the most of any momentum carried forward from their batting effort.