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Tourists finish ODI series with a whimper as hosts put on a sublime show at Colombo
Colombo: Sri Lanka 366-6, England 132- (26.1); (Sri Lanka won by 219 runs - DLS)
Nasser Hussain labelled it “End-of-term-itis”. Whatever it was, England finished the ODI series with a whimper as Sri Lanka put on a sublime show at Colombo.
The hosts had already lost the series (3-0 down after four) but Sri Lanka were not about to go quietly.
The batsmen were aggressive, the bowlers skilled and the hosts’ effort in the field put England - who dropped catches and looked sluggish - to shame.
Electing to bat having won the toss, Sri Lanka’s openers immediately gone on top of the incoming Sam Curran and Mark Wood, racing to 72 for no loss after ten overs.
Junior Curran and Wood were two of three changes, with Liam Plunkett also coming in to the XI.
Skipper Eoin Morgan left himself out with Olly Stone and Chris Woakes also rested.
Niroshan Dickwella and Sadeera Samarawickrama reached half-centuries in the 15th and 16th over respectively. The latter’s his maiden fifty in ODI cricket.
He was bowled by Moeen soon after reaching the milestone but there were no signs of a Sri Lankan collapse as the opener’s fine work was backed up by his captain Chandimal - dropped by Tom Curran on six - who went on to a classy 80.
Dickwella continued to dominate the tourists. Plunkett was dismissed over long-on by a shot that was beautiful and barbaric in equal measure. Sri Lanka have yet to score and ODI hundred in 2018 and Dickwella so nearly ended that drought before top-edging Moeen to Joe Root at backward point for 95.
Kusal Mendis ended a sequence of 0, 0, 0, 5 in ODIs by smashing a belligerent 56 - reaching fifty in 30 balls - including six sixes as Sri Lanka posted a daunting 366 for 6.
For this England side, scores of 300+ are never out of the question but Sri Lanka quickly snuffed out any hopes of a successful chase.
A shellshocked England were reduced to 4 for 3 in 10 deliveries by Kasun Rajitha and Dushmantha Chameera. Rajitha bowled Jason Roy with a yorker before Chameera sent Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Root packing.
Ben Stokes (67) - who battled valiantly through cramp - and Moeen Ali (37) added 79 as England threatened to compete but the damage had already been done.
Fittingly for this series, the weather brought England’s misery to an end. By the time heavy rain found its way to the stadium, Buttler’s men found themselves 132 for 9 and well and truly beaten.