|Scorecard:||England v Sri Lanka|
|Event:||ICC Champions Trophy 2013|
DateLine: 14th June 2013
By Andy Jalil at The Oval
In association with INVESTEC
London – Kumar Sangakkara, with a magnificent unbeaten innings of 134 runs – scored at practically a-run-a-ball – led Sri Lanka to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over England in their Group A match in the Champions Trophy. Sangakkara and Nuwan Kulasekera, whose audacious innings took him 58 not out from only 30 balls, saw their side comfortably home with 17 balls to spare.
Having set Sri Lanka a formidable target, it didn’t take long for England to claim the first wicket. In only his second over James Anderson had Kusal Perera, on 6, send a looping catch to mid-on. But then Sangakkara joined Tillakaratne Dilshan and the contest was on. It was the variety of the England bowling, provided by six bowlers, pitched against two highly experienced batsmen.
With the early loss of the first wicket Sri Lankans batted steadily without being overly cautious and picking the right balls for the bigger shots. Two successive loose balls from Stuart Broad were sent to the boundary by Sangakkara, the first a square drive followed by a flick. Dilshan too opened up when Joe Root was brought on. He took his score to 36 with a four, a six and another four all coming in four balls with the over conceding 17.
Sri Lanka’s 92-run stand for the second wicket was broken with Dilshan, on 44 from 56 balls, stepping out to drive Swann and mistiming the shot for a catch at long-on. On reaching his 76th one-day International (ODI) half century, with a push for a single to long-on, Sangakkara played a lofted drive for four at mid-off, off Graeme Swann and soon took his score to 65 with a flick off Ravi Bopara.
Runs were flowing more freely with Sri Lanka’s two premier batsmen at the crease. Mahela Jayawardene, early in his innings went down the pitch defiantly to lift Stuart Broad for six over long-on and with their rate of scoring the 50 of the stand came from 59 balls. When Anderson returned for a second spell, Sangakkara cut his first ball for four to get to 84 but in the same over Jayawardene was held at square leg for 42 off 43 balls in a 85-run partnership.
Thereafter, Kulasekera, promoted up the order, and his senior partner simply took the game away from England and the statistics tell the story from that stage. Sangakkara went on to bring up his fifteenth ODI hundred from 111 balls. Swann returned for a second spell and was promptly hit for two sixes off consecutive balls by Kulasekera who was equally brutal on Broad from whom he took another six over long-on and a straight four on the next ball to get to 47.
He reached his third ODI fifty when he drove Broad to the cover boundary. They made the England attack look quite innocuous. Sangakkara went on scoring at will and if the fifty of their stand was fast, coming from 43 balls, their unbroken partnership of 110 was even quicker from just 75 balls. It was Sangakkara who appropriately hit the winning runs, pulling Broad for four.
Earlier, in a wonderful display of powerful hitting Bopara took 28 runs from the last over of the innings with three sixes and two fours to remain unbeaten with 33 from just 13 balls taking England to 293 for seven. Having been asked to bat England had made a reasonably good opening stand of 48 and even a better one for the second wicket.
It was a double bowling change that brought Sri Lanka the first wicket when Ian Bell, on 20, played a poor shot off Shaminda Eranga straight to mid-wicket when he had much space on the leg side to place the ball.
Cook, who had been dropped on 23 at backward point by Dilshan off Angelo Mathews and Trott settled into a 83-run stand. Cook’s third four took him to 45 in an over from Dilshan which brought him 9 runs the last of which, a push to mid-wicket saw him to his eighteenth ODI fifty from 72 balls. Meanwhile the hundred of the stand had come from 138 balls.
But on 59 from 85 balls, Cook played across the line to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and fell lbw. Trott by then had progressed to 41 and went on to form another effective partnership with Joe Root and his 21st ODI half century came from 62 balls. He had just two boundaries at that stage. Later he added three more, two of which were beautifully struck, an extra cover drive off Eranga which took him to 65 and a powerful pull saw him to 74.
Two runs later having added 87 with Root, he became Herath’s second lbw victim as he played the wrong shot, sweeping a straight full length ball, his runs had come from 87 balls. Root had just reached his fourth ODI fifty when Trott lost his wicket.
He was dropped on 56 by the wicket-keeper from a skied shot. On 68 from 55 balls his knock ended with Jayawardena holding a simple catch at square leg off Malinga. With that England went on to lose three wickets on 249 in a space of six balls two of which went to Malinga.
The next ball after Root’s dismissal had Eoin Morgan trapped lbw and in the following over Jos Buttler edged Kulasekara to the wicket-keeper without scoring. Eranga claimed the seventh wicket when Tim Bresnan missed a straight ball and then came the extraordinary final over with Bopara on the rampage to entertain a crowd packed to capacity.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)