Leeds [UK]: Despite Ben Stokes' brilliant effort, Sri Lanka managed to vanquish England by 20 runs in the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup here on Friday. Chasing a modest total of 233 runs, England faced an early blow as Jonny Bairstow was sent back to pavilion on a duck by Lasith Malinga in the first over.
Opener James Vince was then joined by Joe Root but their partnership also did not last long as Malinga, continuing his brilliant form, got the wicket of Vince (14) which halted their 25-run partnership. Skipper Eoin Morgan then came out to bat along with Root.
Both played steadily and added another 47 runs on the board before Isuru Udana catch and bowled Morgan, who scored 21 runs. Morgan's dismissal brought Ben Stokes out on the field.
Root and Stokes played cautiously and avoided risky shots. However, Stokes came out furiously in the 28th over, bowled by Jeevan Mendis, as he smashed two sixes in the over.
Root scored his half-century and along with Stokes, formed a 54-run partnership. Malinga provided his side with a much-need breakthrough as he got hold of Root (57). Stokes was then accompanied by Jos Buttler on the field.
However, Buttler (10) too became a victim of Malinga as he was given lbw in the 33rd over. After the conclusion of 33 overs, half of the England squad was sent back to the pavilion when they had 144 runs on the board.
Moeen Ali then joined Stoked on the field but he was dismissed by Dhananjaya de Silva after scoring 16 runs. Silva, in his next over, got hold of Chris Woakes (2) and Adil Rashid (1) which put England under immense pressure.
Fall of wickets did not stop there as Jofra Archer too got out as he gave away an easy catch to Thisara Perera off Isuru Udana's delivery. Mark Wood then came out to bat in a hope to take sinking England over the line, along with set batsman Stokes.
However, despite Stokes' brilliant unbeaten knock of 82 runs, England lost the match as Wood got out off Nuwan Pradeep's bowl. Malinga took four wickets which played a crucial part in Sri Lanka's 20-run victory over the hosts.
Earlier, England displayed a spirited bowling performance to restrict Sri Lanka to 232/9 in the allotted fifty overs after being asked to bowl first.
Sri Lanka got off to the worst start as they lost both its openers, Dimuth Karunaratne (1) and Kusal Perera (2) inside the first three overs. Jofra Archer dismissed Karunaratne whereas Chris Woakes dismissed Perera.
Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis steadied the innings for the Islanders as they stitched together a 59-run stand, but their resistance was cut short by Mark Wood as he sent Fernando (49) back to the pavilion in the 13th over. Angelo Mathews came to the crease next and he along with Mendis ensured the team does not lose a flurry of wickets.
The duo put up a 71-run stand and they mixed caution with aggression. But as soon as Sri Lanka started looking settled at the crease, England got quick breakthroughs as Adil Rashid foxed Mendis (46) and Jeevan Mendis (0), reducing Sri Lanka to 133/5.
Dhananjaya de Silva and Mathews stitched together a 57-run stand to take Lanka past 180-run mark, but Archer dismissed de Silva (29) in the 44th over, to give England an upper hand going into the death overs.
Mathews held the fort at one end, but he constantly kept on losing partners at the other end, which resulted in Sri Lanka being restricted to a below-par score in Headingley. Mathews remained unbeaten on 85 whereas Archer and Wood scalped three-wickets each for England. England will next take on Australia on June 25 whereas Sri Lanka will face South Africa on June 28.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 232/9 (Angelo Mathews 85*, Avishka Fernando 49, Mark Wood 3-40) beats England 212/10 (Ben Stokes 82*, Joe Root 57, Lasith Malinga 4-43) by 20 runs. (ANI)