Sunday, March 1, 2015

Thirimanne, Sangakkara Tons Set Up Huge Sri Lanka Win Against England

Sri Lanka vs England, Westpac Stadium in Wellington - 1st March 2015 - Match Review

Sri Lanka beat England by 9 wickets.

England and Sri Lanka have met each other quite a few times since the last year and Sri Lanka seem to have a measure of the English (well, who doesn't at the moment?) and they once again trashed them by 9 wickets as they chased down a massive 309 runs with almost 3 overs to spare! Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to bat first once again at Wellington, the place where they were massacred by Tim Southee and Brendon McCullum just last week. It was a beautiful sunny day and the pitch looked flat. Ian Bell started off in a frenzy as he fed off the loose bowling of Suranga Lakmal and England were motoring at around 8 an over for the first 6 or 7 overs. But the introduction of Dilshan and Mathews himself put a break on the run rate and the pressure finally got to Moeen Ali who threw away his wicket with a half hearted loft straight to Lakmal standing at mid off. Gary Ballance, who I believe seriously, unbalances this English side scratched around for 15 deliveries or so before giving Dilshan a simple catch off his own bowling. The wind had been taken out of the English sails and Bell too had gone in a shell after a bright start. He too was bowled by Suranga Lakmal on 49.

 Morgan and Root put on a decent partnership with Morgan still not entirely convincing in his footwork or shot making and Root too was dropped by Mahela before he had made it in to double figures. The English skipper got out to Perera just before the power play was to be taken and England had a chance to promote the dynamic Jos Buttler ahead of James Taylor but they stuck with the conventional line up. Taylor kept the scoreboard ticking and made 25 before getting out. Joe Root in the meanwhile had quietly compiled the runs and was looking fluent by the minute. He brought up his century, the youngest Englishman to do so in a World Cup, and then upped the ante. Jos Buttler was welcomed to the crease by a scorching bouncer by Lasith Malinga which caught him just below the ear and the entire ground gasped as the episode of Phil Hughes is still fresh in everyone’s mind. But everything was fine and Buttler hammered a 19 ball 39 to take England to a competitive 309 after their 50 overs.

Sri Lanka had made a big total in their last game against Bangladesh and one could feel that they were quietly confident about chasing down this total. Dilshan and Thirimanne got them off to a safe start as Anderson and Broad kept things tight but there was no swing or seam for them. Thirimanne edged one at the start of the innings but was dropped by Root after he was blinded by Jos Buttler as he pulled out of the catch at the last moment. Dilshan and Thirimanne stitched together another 100 partnership and they were just starting to open up when Dilshan got out to Moeen Ali as the ball appeared to have stopped a bit on him. That brought Kumar Sangakkara, fresh from his fastest hundred against Bangladesh, to the crease.

Twin Centuries by Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne saw 
Sri Lanka home against England by 9 wickets

In the end, Sri Lanka cantered to a victory with 9 wickets and plenty of balls and fire power stored in the tank. This Sri Lankan team is starting to peak at the correct time and they have a reputation of lifting their game in the big tournaments. Their batsmen are piling on the runs and they have now lost only 2 wickets and scored around 700 runs!!! England is down and almost out and their clash against Bangladesh becomes a virtual Quarter Final and if they lose that they can pack their bags and go home.

PS - The image used is courtesy www.espncricinfo.com

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