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England went down 2-3 against a determined Sri Lankan side. Abhijit Banare looks at some of the key highlights of the series which includes Jos Buttler’s ton and a controversial ‘Mankading’ from Sachithra Senanayake.
Four one-sided matches
Except for the fourth One-Day International (ODI), rest of the matches were more or less one-sided and the result was written all over. Sri Lanka failed to overcome the rain trouble in the first ODI. England bowed to their second lowest ODI score of 99 in the next, while the Sri Lanka bettered them with 67 in the third! The fourth ODI was the only one to have some spice in it, thanks to a Jos Buttler special.
Jos Buttler blitzkrieg in fourth ODI
One of the finest innings by an England batsman in limited overs cricket. England were on the verge of going down meekly once again and the series was all set to be leveled 2-2. But Buttler defied the situation and single-handedly turned things around. Though he got some support from Ravi Bopara, Buttler’s aggression was the key to pulling England closer to the target. In his 122-run innings, Buttler shattered a few records. He registered the fastest ODI ton by an England player.
Sachithra Senanayake- Jos Buttler – the ‘Mankading’ controversy
Seldom to following legitimate cricket rules cause as much uproar as the ‘Mankading’. Sachithra Senanayake pulled off the eighth successful ‘Mankading’ in cricket history when he warned Buttler followed by which he ran him out. The umpire consulted whether the skipper wanted to uphold the appeal and he did. England were left embarrassed, fuming and raked up a controversy, but Senanayake garnered support for sticking by the rules. Even Australian skipper Michael Clarke chose to back the bowler’s decision. To be fair to the Lankans, they did warn Buttler not once but twice. Among those criticising the decision were former England skipper Michael Vaughan and former off-spinner, Graeme Swann who went on to vent their fury on Twitter.
England rigid in changes and failed to use home conditions
England were virtually unchanged in their playing XI. Cloudy conditions a home was the best one for their pacers to take advantage of, instead their batsmen fell to the Sri Lankan attack especially, Lasith Malinga and the spin twins of Senanayake and Ajantha Mendis. Malinga wasn’t among the wickets, but bowled crucial overs in the death to strangle them. Senanayake was the leading wicket-taker with nine wickets.
England: Chris Jordan looked promising with his all-round performance including a five-for which resulted in the Lankans bundling out for 67. Left-armer, Harry Gurney was consistent too picking wickets in every match except the last one. Jos Buttler was impressive as well with a ton. James Anderson was good on his comeback. Jordan will be the one to look forward to in Tests. James Tredwell too had a good run achieving his career-best ODI ranking.
Sri Lanka: England were bamboozled by Senanayake keeping aside the Mankading’. They were caught napping at crucial junctures of the game. Apart from the third ODI, where they surrendered meekly, Sri Lanka were solid with the bat. Key players chipped in at crucial junctures and that mattered a lot. Tillakaratne Dilshan clicked in two matches, Kumar Sangakkara hammered a ton, Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne played crucial innings in the final match to seal the deal.
Overall, Sri Lanka will be happy how their team has shaped up with less than an year to go for the World Cup. Meanwhile, England have to go back to the table and regroup having been outclassed on home conditions. Their batting still needs some solidity and they will be hoping to see the return of Jonathan Trott who was a pillar in their Test and ODI side.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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