England have begun their limited-overs series against Sri Lanka with a comfortable 8-wicket victory in Cardiff. Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 68 off 55 balls helped England chase the mediocre target of 130 in the 17th over.
Earlier, Sri Lanka captain Kusal Perera won the coin toss and took a brave decision of batting first. Sri Lanka had made a few bold changes in the squad by dropping the seniors and fielding a young team. England, on the other hand, were without the services of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. While Sam Curran was the leading all-rounder, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes formed the pace attack, along with the experienced Chris Jordan.
Chris Woakes started off brilliantly, conceding just two runs against Avishka Fernando and Danushka Gunathilaka. Sam Curran striked in the next over itself as Fernando holed out to Chris Jordan at cover. He wanted to go wide of cover, but failed to reach to the pitch of the ball and ended up giving a dolly catch.
The skipper and Gunathilaka then looked to build the innings and the latter even hit some lovely fours all over the park before top edging one straight to the keeper off Chris Jordan. Post that, Morgan’s every bowling change yielded a wicket as Sri Lanka were reduced to 79/5 in the 13th over. While Kusal Mendis was trapped plumb in front by Liam Livingstone, De Silva holed out to the third man off Mark Wood and Kusal Perera took on Adil Rashid, only to miscue it to Jordan at long-off.
Dasun Shanaka kept hitting and accumulating runs at one end as wickets kept falling at the other. He brought up his second fifty in the format on the penultimate ball of the innings and Sri Lanka finished on 129/7.
Jos Buttler and Jason Roy walked out for chasing a modest total and although the pitch was a two-paced one, the chase was on for the opening duo. Buttler seemed to be loving the opening role and smashing runs in the power as he, along with Jason Roy, pounced on the Sri Lankan bowlers and amassed 61 runs in the first six overs, thus killing the run chase.
In the 10th over, Gunathilaka took an absolute screamer to dismiss Jason Roy as he flied to his left, standing at cover. Meanwhile, Jos Buttler continued taking England close to the target and he also brought up his fifty off 38 balls. David Malan was sent packing after his short stay as his stumps were dismantled by Isuru Udana.
Following this, Bairstow and Buttler took England home in the 18th over. Jos Buttler was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant batting display of 68 off 55 balls, a knock which included eight fours and one six.
Here are the best tweets:
Jos Buttler has now played 20 innings as an opener in T20Is with 795 runs & 9 fifty-plus scores, averaging 53 & striking at 150. Of the 61 batsmen to have played 20+ innings as opener in T20Is, none average better than Buttler’s 53 & only six others have scored quicker.#ENGvSL
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) June 23, 2021
Jos Buttler opening for England in T20Is: 20 innings, 794 runs, 52.93 average, 150.00 strike rate, 9 fifties
— Matt Roller (@mroller98) June 23, 2021
Sue Redfern who will be the first woman to officiate an England men’s game at home 👏
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) June 23, 2021
— Sourav Ganguly and BCCI (@iamSaqibAliAwan) June 23, 2021
So England have been below strength in Tests against India and New Zealand but have made sure they are at full strength against what looks a desperately poor Sri Lanka T20 side. Go figure….
— Paul Newman 🌈 (@Paul_NewmanDM) June 23, 2021
— I (@ISophrosyne) June 24, 2021