England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI at Cardiff – England in a strong position

England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI at Cardiff – England in a strong position
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Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bowl on the Cardiff pitch expected to assist seam bowlers.  England Captain Eoin Morgan said he would have opted to bowl first as well. This is the first time in the series England were asked to set a total.

The start was both swift and secure. In the middle overs, there was a hustling effervescence. The close might not quite have been explosive, but it was as clever and efficient as it had to be, to grow a surging score into an imposing total. In their 324 for 7 at Cardiff, England showcased a feast of batting talents for one last time in the ODI series. Hamstrung by an injury that prevents Angelo Mathews from bowling, and damaged by a debutant bowler who proved expensive, Sri Lanka will know their hosts will take some running down.

Joe Root produced a seamless 93 from 106 balls to underpin this dynamic one-day innings, but it was arguably Jos Buttler who played the most electric knock within it. He set off with a four to fine leg, allowed few dot balls to be delivered to him, then after facing 25 deliveries, let fly with the boundaries. There were shovels over the shoulder, searing cuts, crunching drives and a six over long off, all executed with a powerful bottom hand. His tally was 70 off 45. James Vince had also hit a half-century at the top of the innings.

Danushka Gunathilaka’s part-time offspin claimed three wickets for 48 from his full quota of overs, but it was Chaminda Bandara’s 1 for 83 which is the more pertinent set of figures to the eventual score. Bandara, the debutant left-arm seamer, was wayward from the outset, and the other seam bowlers failed to pose a consistent threat. Nuwan Pradeep was also expensive again, giving away more than seven an over, as he attempts to come to grips with bowling at the death.

The match is still in progress.

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