New-ball bowlers deliver England DLS win after Lasith Malinga five-for

Lasith Malinga rolled back the years
Sri Lanka v England, 2nd ODI, Dambulla October 13, 2018

England 278 for 9 (Morgan 92, Root 71, Malinga 5-44) beat Sri Lanka 140 for 5 (Woakes 3-26) by 31 runs (DLS method)
and ball-by-ball details

Incisive bowling from Chris Woakes and a rapid spell from Olly Stone uprooted four Sri Lanka wickets in the first nine overs - their collective new-ball effort outdoing Lasith Malinga's heroics at the death, and bringing about a 31-run for England win via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. Malinga had taken 4 for 19 in his final five overs, completing his first five-wicket haul in over four years, as England were restricted to 278 for 9 despite having seemed destined for a total in excess of 300.

But although the hosts' bowlers had performed creditably, keeping England in check for the majority of their innings, Sri Lanka's top order failed for the third consecutive time, slumping to 31 for 4 then 74 for 5, effectively surrendering the match in those early overs. Dhananjaya de Silva and Thisara Perera forged an unbeaten 66-run partnership for the sixth wicket, but could not make up enough ground before rain cut Sri Lanka's chase short at the end of the 29th over. Their score at the time was 140. With five wickets down, they would have needed 172 to win.

Woakes, who had missed the home ODIs in the English summer through injury, delivered a tight and constricting first spell, eliciting a series of false shots from Sri Lanka's top order batsmen, three of which resulted in wickets. Upul Tharanga was the first to depart, edging a ball angled across him in the first over. New captain Dinesh Chandimal was the second of Woakes' wickets, under-edging into his stumps as he attempted to punch the delivery through the covers. Dasun Shanaka, batting unusually high at No. 5, then touched a seaming ball behind after facing a harried 18 deliveries. With Stone also having had Niroshan Dickwella caught off the glove with a vicious bouncer at the other end, Sri Lanka were reeling, and the middle order were left with a monumental task to get back in the game.

De Silva and Thisara gave the recovery a shot, as both played aggressively against England's spinners, and negotiated the fast bowlers much better than the men batting higher up in the order had done. The rain, though, snuffed out what little hope Sri Lanka had, giving England a 1-0 lead in the series with three ODIs to play.

That England got as many as they did was largely the work of senior batsmen Eoin Morgan and Joe Root, who hit 92 off 91 balls and 71 off 83 respectively - the pair batting together in a 68-run third-wicket stand. Where Root had been assured from the outset, striking crisp boundaries off the fifth and eighth deliveries that came his way, Morgan's first 30 balls at the crease were a little more frazzled.

He was flummoxed by a Lakshan Sandakan googly in his first few minutes, the ball turning sharply back at him to strike him on the pad. More plays-and-misses and miscued strokes were to follow, but eventually his innings hit a rhythm. The sweeps and reverse sweeps began to be played with more conviction, and to profitable effect. His fifty - the 40th of his career - was completed off his 57th delivery, and he accelerated upon reaching the milestone, hitting 34 off his next 23 balls.

Malinga's haul featured all the vintage dismissals. He took Morgan's wicket in the 42nd over - the batsman chipping a tame catch back to him after failing to pick up the slower ball. Next delivery, he bowled Moeen Ali with a slower yorker, the ball diving beneath Moeen's shot. He got the balls at either end to reverse swing as well - perhaps the only one-day bowler in the world who can still get the ball to behave this way consistently. He breached speeds of 140kph at various points through the innings, and pointed to the name on his back when he took the fifth wicket with a fast, tailing yorker that Liam Dawson was not equipped to resist.

His overall figures were 5 for 44. Having been dropped from the side for over a year, he has now taken 10 wickets in four games since his return.

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