Eng v SL 1st T20I Review: Buttler powers England to crush visitors yet again

Eng v SL 1st T20I Review: Buttler powers England to crush visitors yet again

England's Captain Eoin Morgan (L) and England's Jos Buttler embrace after England win the game. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)
England’s Captain Eoin Morgan (L) and England’s Jos Buttler embrace after England win the game. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

It was all about playing for pride for the visiting Sri Lanka team when they took on England in the one-off T20I match at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. Sri Lanka had a rough run on the tour prior to this game and had failed to register a single win in Tests and ODIs, their best effort being a tie in the 1st ODI.

England, on the other hand, had been in a rampaging form and had thoroughly outplayed the visitors in every department in all the formats. The story of the T20I was pretty much the same. Yet again, Sri Lankan batting couldn’t pile on a big total on the board and the English batsmen overhauled the score with ease as Jos Buttler anchored the chase to give England an 8-wicket win.

Earlier in the day, it was Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews, who had won the toss and opted to bat first. Sri Lanka drafted in Chamara Bandara and Ramith Rambukwella in the playing eleven while England brought in a host of expected changes. Tymal Mills and Liam Dawson made their T20I debuts while Sam Billings and James Vince also made it to the playing eleven.

The Sri Lanka openers, Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Perera, couldn’t give a decent start to the visitors. Perera looked struggling against Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan. It was in the 3rd over, when Liam Plunkett got rid of him on 13(15). Gunathilaka was joined by Kusal Mendis at the crease. Both batsmen started playing free flowing shots and the boundaries came in aplenty in the couple of overs that followed. By the end of the powerplay, Sri Lanka already had 51 runs on the board.

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However, Gunathilaka’s 16-ball 26 came to an end in the 7th over when he became Dawson’s first wicket of his T20I career. In his next over, Dawson caught and bowled Mendis on 21(16). With Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal at the crease, Sri Lanka hoped for a revival from 74/3. But it was Dawson, who struck again as he cleaned up Mathews on 11 (10) in the 11th over. Dawson’s near perfect debut saw him bag 3/27 in his 4 overs. Mathews departure was a precursor of the things that were to follow.

No other batsman could show any resilience and Sri Lankan lineup fell apart like ten pins. Dasun Shanaka (1) and Rambukwella (19) saw themselves heading back to the pavilion. While Shanaka was run out by Jason Roy, Rambukwella’s stay was cut short by James Vince’s good field work. Seekkuge Prasanna’s (1) acute stay at the crease saw Sri Lanka struggling at 122/7 in 16 overs. Meanwhile, Chandimal looked at the procession of batsmen departing and was left with no other option then to take charge.

He perished in the 18th over bowled by Chris Jordan, in his attempt to add some quick runs. He scored 23 off 22 balls. The departure of Farveez Maharoof (10) followed soon and that brought the last man Nuwan Pradeep in. Pradeep scored a golden duck as Sri Lanka bundled out for 140 in their 20 overs.

The England run chase began in a horrid manner as Angelo Mathews sent him packing for a duck in the very first over. However, his opening partner Jos Buttler had other plans. Buttler was joined by James Vince. Vince hit a couple of boundaries which prompted the Sri Lankan skipper to bring the wicket keeper up to the stumps. The trick worked and Vince was stumped on 16 (14) in the 5th over. In walked skipper Eoin Morgan to join Jos Buttler.

It was all England show after that. They were slow to get off the mark and had only 41 runs on the board in the powerplay but picked up pace as the game progressed. Some brilliant hitting from Buttler outclassed the opposition bowling. Buttler scored his first fifty as an opener in the 13th over. It was only a matter of time with the two batsmen set in the middle.

With 3 runs needed off 16 balls, the English skipper decided it was enough and came down the track to finish off in style with a six. A perfect way to end a perfect home series of thorough dominion. England won the match by 8 wickets. Buttler’s unbeaten 73 off 49 was studded with 3 fours and 4 sixes, while Morgan’s unbeaten 47 came off 39 balls with a four and 2 maximums.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka 140/10 in 20 overs (Gunathilaka 26, Chandimal 23, Dawson 3/27, Jordan 3/29)

England 144/2 in 17.3 overs (Buttler 73*, Morgan 47*, Mathews 2/27)

Man of the match – Jos Buttler