England fell again as Sri Lanka emerged victorious in the bottom-half clash of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2023 on Thursday in Bengaluru. The match was played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium where Sri Lanka won the match by eight wickets.
Chasing a paltry total of 157 for the win, Sri Lanka had to dig deep and come back from going two wickets down at the start of their innings. However, a gutsy innings each from opener Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama later saw the team over the line.
With the win, Sri Lanka rose to fifth on the points table as England’s slide continued. The defending champions find themselves ninth on the table, above the Netherlands on the virtue of a better net run rate. They have lost four of the five matches played so far, winning just the one time in the match against Bangladesh.
Nissanka kept his cool even as wickets fell at the other end to ensure Sri Lanka got the stability at the beginning of their run chase. He went on to score 77 runs off 83 deliveries with two sixes and seven fours. On the other hand, Samarawickrama scored 65 off 54 balls with one six and seven fours to see off the English bowling attack. In the end Sri Lanka won the match comfortably in just 25.4 overs.
Earlier, England had witnessed another catastrophic collapse against Sri Lanka. Today’s match pitted two sides in the bottom half of the table, something not usually associated with the giants of the game.
The English batting line-up could not find an answer to the Sri Lankan bowlers who kept piling on the pressure taking wickets at regular intervals to restrict their opponents to a paltry 156. England could only bat for 33.2 overs.
Having won the toss, England skipper Jos Buttler had decided to bat first. They were off to a solid start by openers Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan. However, the issues that have come to the fore to haunt them throughout their miserable campaign so far, were evident today as well. Soon after Dawid Malan was sent home by Kusal Mendis, the wickets began to fall like a house of cards.
None of the top or middle order batters, except Ben Stokes, could stop the slump as the Lankan Lions kept on raising the heat. Lahiru Kumara was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets to his name as a returning Angelo Mathews alongside Kasun Rajitha picked two. Maheesh Theekshana got one wicket to round of the England innings.
Ben Stokes took the fight to the opposition with an important knock of 43 runs off 73 balls as wickets kept falling at the other end.