England sweep ODI series, gain key WTC points

 England sweep ODI series, gain key WTC points
GALLE   -  England stuttered in the chase of 164 but eventually scaled the target with six wickets to spare to win the Test series 2-0 against Sri Lanka in Galle. 

With the victory they have gained 60 crucial points in the ICC World Test Championship standings and are in the fourth spot, just 0.5 per cent behind Australia. England’s march to 164 was anything but smooth as they lost four wickets, three of them to Lasith Embuldeniya, who finished with a 10-wicket match haul. As many 15 wickets fell in the day, all of them to spin. Dom Sibley’s restrained and patient knock of 56* and his unbeaten 75-run stand with Jos Buttler (46*) was the highlight of England’s second innings. The duo first stabilised the visitors, then batted responsibly to see them past the finishing line. 

Opener Zak Crawley failed yet again, managing just 13 runs before getting out to Embuldeniya. Sibley dropped his anchor at the other end and along with Jonny Bairstow ensured that the visitors didn’t suffer any more hiccups until tea. The duo put on a 45-run stand for the second wicket with Bairstow falling to Embuldeniya after a 28-ball 29. The visitors stumbled further in the last session, first losing captain Joe Root for 11 as he was bowled by Ramesh Mendis. Three overs later, Dan Lawrence became Embuldeniya’s 10th victim of the match. Sri Lanka would have fancied their chances of causing an upset with England at 89/4 but Sibley and Buttler had other plans. 

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Ramesh Mendis then missed the sweep to depart for 16 at the total of 8-78. Embuldeniya then continued his form with bat, playing some classy shots. He resisted with a quick 40, counter-attacking with aggressive shots. In the end, Root was forced to bring himself into the attack and dismissed Embuldeniya and Asitha Fernando in back-to-back deliveries as Sri Lanka folded for 126. England became the first team in Test history to take 10 wickets with seam in the first innings and 10 wickets with spin in the second.

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SRI LANKA 381 & 126 (L. Embuldeniya 40, D. Bess 4/49, J. Leach 4/59, J. Root 2/0) vs ENGLAND 344 & 164/4 (D. Sibley 56 not out, J. Buttler 46 not out, L. Embuldeniya 3/73)

 

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