Sri Lanka delivered a dominant performance to thrash England by 8 wickets at the Cricket World Cup on Thursday.
The heavy defeat leaves England on the verge of a shock early exit as defending champions.
Sri Lanka Restrict England to Paltry 156
After winning the toss and batting first, England crumbled to 156 all out in just 33.2 overs. Only Ben Stokes (43) provided any resistance as Sri Lanka’s bowlers exploited the dry conditions expertly.
Veteran Angelo Mathews led the attack with 2-14, including the wickets of Dawid Malan (28) and Moeen Ali. Seamers Kasun Rajitha (2-36) and Lahiru Kumara (3-35) also struck regularly to dismantle England’s batting.
Openers Seal Emphatic Chase of Small Target
In reply, Sri Lanka openers Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama made light work of chasing down just 157. They put on an opening stand of 97 to crush any hopes of an England comeback.
Nissanka finished unbeaten on 77, his fourth straight half-century of the tournament so far. Samarawickrama blasted 65 not out as Sri Lanka coasted to victory with a mammoth 146 balls remaining.
England Face Uphill Battle to Avoid Elimination
The heavy defeat leaves England facing a tense uphill battle to qualify for the semi-finals in their remaining games. They have managed just one win from their first five matches.
With matches against Australia and New Zealand still to come, England’s chances of defending their title now appear extremely slim with their campaign in tatters.
Buoyant Sri Lanka Keep Quarter-Final Hopes Alive
In contrast, Sri Lanka rebounded superbly from their own slow start to the tournament after arriving as late replacements.
Thursday’s thumping win over England keeps their own semi-final hopes flickering. They appear to be peaking at the right time heading into the business end.
Top Order Collapse Highlights England’s Batting Frailties
England’s habitual top-order collapses remain their Achilles heel this tournament, as seen again after they slumped to 85-5.
With Alex Hales exiled, Jason Roy dropped, and Jonny Bairstow misfiring, England’s batting looks brittle. Their bowlers are left with meagre totals to defend.
Recall of Veterans Mathews and Rajitha Proves Inspired
Sri Lanka’s recalls of experienced 34-year-olds Angelo Mathews and Kasun Rajitha both paid dividends against England. Their wise heads were crucial.
Mathews’ clever bowling broke threatening partnerships to stifle England’s scoring. Rajitha provided early breakthroughs with Bairstow’s wicket.
The veterans proved their value by leading Sri Lanka to their best performance of the tournament just when needed most. Their placements in the squad were fully vindicated.
Overall, Sri Lanka produced their most convincing display to break their World Cup duck against England in style. Their dominant victory throws the tournament wide open.