Sri Lanka 110 for two (Athapaththu 55) beat England 104 (Dean 34, Fernando 2-16, Dilhari 2-17) by eight wickets
After successful her second toss of the collection and selecting to bowl first, Athapaththu confirmed her crew the way it wanted to be executed by bowling the damaging Danni Wyatt for 1 in her first over, and by no means let up in her management thereafter, as England had been hustled out for 104 in 18 overs – a far cry from the 186 for 4 that they’d posted in simply 17 overs in Thursday’s opening fixture.
Then, sensing an opportunity to crush England from the outset of the chase, Athapaththu climbed onto the offensive with the bat, cracking eight fours and two sixes with equally constructive assist from Harshitha Samarawickrama, who sealed the competition with a large swipe over midwicket to complete unbeaten on 30 from 35 balls.
Chamari units the powerplay tone
Talking on the toss, Athapaththu insisted – with some justification as issues turned out – there had been some “positives” to take from a one-sided collection opener at Hove, however recognised that their bowling had to enhance after England had romped alongside at shut to 2 a ball on that event.
And so the skipper herself added that burden to her already broadly laden shoulders, to set the tone for an astonishingly unrelentingly show. Regardless of one free ball that Maia Bouchier carved for 4, Athapaththu’s remit within the contest’s first over was to maintain the stumps in play as a lot as potential, on a hybrid wicket that supplied a contact of grip for her spinners, and in sunny afternoon circumstances a world away from the dank distress of Hove.
The gambit paid agenda-setting dividends with the sixth ball of Athapaththu’s over. A superbly flighted offbreak lured Danni Wyatt on the drive, however a touch of dip and spin bowled her clear by way of the gate for 1. Abruptly a partnership that had realised 77 from 45 balls at Hove had been damaged earlier than it had begun, and that carefree youth that had so flourished in sport one had a special state of affairs to counter.
Inoshi in on the motion
Alice Capsey had made a belligerent 51 from 27 on that event; right here she was restricted to an anxious 3 from 9 as Inoshi Fernando adopted her skipper’s lead in her first outing of the collection. First, her tall offbreaks pinned Capsey to the crease for 5 consecutive dot-balls and a single, then she snapped the lure shut within the discipline one over later. Itching to interrupt the shackles, Capsey lashed by way of the road at Sugandika Kumari and Fernando was virtually blown off her ft at mid-off as she clung on nicely to a flat likelihood.
Bouchier by this stage had linked nicely on one other cuff by way of the covers, however Fernando’s affect was not executed but. The primary ball of her second over was flapped in ungainly style straight to Kavisha Dilhari at further cowl, and Bouchier tried to bend her bat round her helmet as she traipsed off for 12 from 10. Not solely had been England really within the m(aia)ire at 21 for 3, however she’d missed a golden alternative to rebuild a faltering innings, and seize the chance for seniority that she’s been handed within the absence of the likes of Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver-Brunt.
Previous guard falter too
As an alternative, England’s hopes had been reinvested in a well-known pair of middle-order stalwarts. Heather Knight and Amy Jones noticed out a powerplay that, at 32 for 3, realised lower than half the 66 for 0 that Sri Lanka had been subjected to at Hove, however neither batter actually exuded an air of permanence in an uncompromising match state of affairs – least of all Jones, who so almost holed out to backward level as an tried reverse-sweep off Fernando fell inches brief.
On 10, Knight efficiently over-turned an lbw determination after her tried reverse-sweep was proven to have flicked her glove earlier than crashing into the pad, however one over later, Jones’ scratchy keep was ended within the reverse style – Ranaweera trapped her on the again pad, and after Atapaththu’s last-ditch determination to overview, the ball was proven to be thumping the highest of leg stump.
Jones was gone for a run-a-ball 12, and if 41 for 4 within the eighth over was a dicey state of affairs, England’s points had been solely simply starting. Freya Kemp picked off two singles off two authorized deliveries, solely to be stumped off a large in Dilhari’s subsequent over, as she galloped out of her crease for Sanjeewani to assemble nicely down the leg-side and beat her despairing dive, and all hopes of a aggressive whole ended when Knight spooned a back-foot punch again to Ranaweera. At 48 for six, England had been absolutely braced for ignominy.
Dean digs for double-figures
Solely Charlie Dean, final out for a feisty 34 from 26, discovered something just like the requisite mix of endurance and aggression, together with three fours in a row off Ranaweera – two agency sweeps and a well-dispatched full toss.
On the different finish, nonetheless, the development continued. Danielle Gibson opted for aggression with out endurance, as she survived a slash by way of deep third that flew inches broad of the fielder, earlier than scuffing a reverse-sweep straight into the lap of backward sq..
Cross, Wong bear powerplay brunt
If England thought their day had hit its nadir, Athapaththu had additional indignities to ship. She signalled her intention to maintain the hammer down with a second-ball drive for 4 off Kate Cross, and regardless that Sanjeewani fell in Gibson’s subsequent over (after two no-balls had hinted at England’s anxieties), Sri Lanka’s captain was solely simply getting warmed up.
Cross’s second over was totally taken to the cleaners – 21 runs in whole, compromising three blazed fours in a row and a merely huge flog over sq. leg, off the roof off the Felsted Faculty Stand and into the backyard of a bemused woman wanting on from her balcony. After some equally tough therapy on the back-end of the primary T20I, Cross’s figures for the collection now learn 4.2-0-55-0 – a reminder maybe her impeccable strains have been neglected on this format since 2019.
Nothing, nonetheless, was fairly as grotesque as the general public pillorying that Wong would endure in her first worldwide over of the summer time. Her absence from the firing line has been a little bit of an ongoing thriller in current months, given the thrill that surrounded her all-round sport final summer time, however right here was public proof of a participant at battle along with her personal approach.
Her first over of the match lasted for ten deliveries, the primary 4 of which amounted to a tragicomedy in themselves – an enormous front-foot no-ball that Harshitha Samarawickrama flicked off her pads for 4, adopted by a flick to deep sq. leg off that many of the crowd failed to understand was a free hit . One other leg-side no-ball adopted, then one other catch off the free hit – an astounding one because it occurs, as Cross at mid-off snaffled the ball in her outstretched proper hand.
By the top of all of it, Wong may solely grin in self-effacement as Glenn jogged down to provide her a consoling pat on the shoulder, and as Sri Lanka blazed in the direction of their victory goal with barely a shot misplaced, it was one thing of a shock to see her reintroduced with 13 runs nonetheless wanted and little left to be gained. Three extra drilled boundaries duly drew the scores degree, leaving Harshitha to heave Cross into the pavilion for the successful six.
Wong’s inclusion for this match had come on the expense of England’s new younger factor, Mahika Gaur, and her struggles slightly underlined the significance of Knight’s pre-series warning concerning the youth on this crew. Anticipating an excessive amount of too quickly is a harmful factor.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket