When Kulasekara picked up both in form batsmen, Alan Lumb and Moeen Ali in the very first over of the match at the score of 0, victory was the last thing that the English fans could have thought of. It was at this point that England captain Eoin Morgan joined hands with Alex Hales at the crease.
What transpired next was one of the most amazing displays of batsman ship by the two English men. They added 152 runs for the third wicket, England’s best by a long margin. They started off cautiously, first targeting the spinners and then going full kill mode on each and every bowler, even Ajantha Mendis.
Trouble struck again when Kulasekara came back to pick up Morgan and then Buttler in the same over. But the day belonged to Alex Hales, who played the innings of a life time and guided England to an unlikely win. Hales scored 116 runs with the help of 11 boundaries and 6 sixes, 3 of which came in a single Mendis over.
The task wasn’t all that easy for the Lankan bowlers as well. Even though they had a good total to defend and had picked up two crucial wickets at the start, the wickets was getting better to bat on and the dew was pouring down on the ground. Their spinners proved to be ineffective and Mendis in particular got hammered in a big way. Kulasekara was the only success with the ball for Sri Lanka as he took all the four wickets that fell in the English innings.
Earlier, on the back of an attacking 89 by Mahela Jayawardene and a supporting 55 by Dilshan, Sri Lanka managed a good enough total of 189 in the first innings. Sri Lankan innings was boosted by the fact that the English fielders failed to capitalize the chances that they got in the field and also the decision made by umpire Steve Davis in favor of Jayawardene when he clearly seemed out.
Sri Lanka sit comfortably at the top of the Group 1 table but the loss would have affected their confidence in a bad way. England on the other hand would take this win as a morale booster and would go in the next game on a high.
Result: England defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets.
Man of the match: Alex Hales.