Desperately hoping to change the fortunes after losing last eleven of twelve ODIs, Sri Lanka hosted England for the first of three ICC Women’s Championship ODIs at Hambantota winning the game by 154 runs (DLS method).
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field.
Jones and Beaumont starting the inning for England. The pair wasted no time in taking Sri Lanka bowlers to task as they both picked up a boundary each in the second over. In the 5th over Jones cut loose on Prabodhini by hitting four, six and a four in consecutive deliveries. Jones looked in menacing touch as she picked up four more boundaries in next two overs. The 50-run partnership was posted in just 6.5 overs.
Jones completed her 50 in just 33 deliveries in which she hit 9 boundaries and a six. The pair kept the scoreboard moving by taking ones and twos as the flow of the boundaries slowed down and in the 17th over they put up their third 100-run partnership while opening the inning.
In the 20th over Beaumont was the first to depart on the bowling of Ranasinghe for 35 (53). Jones’ blitz came to an end in the next over as she was found short of her crease and ran out for 79 (71). The guests suffered another blow as Winfield was run out just two deliveries later. From 114-0 the guests slipped to 118-3 in 22.2 overs.
From here on the skipper Knight and Sciver shouldered the responsibility of stabilising the inning yet not to let the run rate down. They kept rotating the strike while dispatching any bad deliveries to the boundary. In 32nd over they brought up the 50-run partnership in which only 4 boundaries were hit. The scoring pattern continued until the 37th over in which Knight and Sciver hit 3 boundaries to post 200 for England.
In the 40th over Knight brought up her 50 in 61 deliveries. In the next over bowled by the Sri Lanka skipper Atapattu, Sciver reached 50 and brought up 100-run partnership for the 4th wicket. The 113 run stand was broken in the next over when Knight was dismissed by Ranasinghe for 61 (66).
At 231-4, Danni Wyatt joined Sciver and hit 3 consecutive boundaries in Ranasinghe’s next over. Sciver too shifted a gear as the pair scored 3 more boundaries in Atapattu’s over. They quickly posted 50-run partnership in just 32 deliveries. In the next over Sciver hit 2 more boundaries and a six. In the 47th over England reached 300-4. Wyatt’s run out for 47 (26) saw the end of 90-run partnership which just took 48 deliveries. In the final over Wilson and Sciver lost their wickets on final two deliveries to close the inning for 331-7.
Facing a mammoth target of 332, Sanjeewani and Atapattu opened the inning for Sri Lanka but the hosts got off to a worst possible start as Sanjeewani was picked up by Brunt in the first over for 0 and Weerakkody fell to Shrubsole in the 4th over. At 15-2, Siriwardene joined returned to the pavilion in the next over as Brunt picked dismissed her to reduce hosts to 16-3.
Brunt took a fine catch off her own bowling to dismiss Madavi for 3 to claim her 3rd wicket of the spell. Three deliveries later Perera was run out and the Sri Lanka slumped at 21-5. Atapattu and Karunaratne halted the slide momentarily by adding 17 runs but both the batters dismissed within 10 deliveries. Karunaratne was run out for 4 and the skipper departed after a well-made 30 (45) at the score of 46-7.
de Silva hit a boundary to Marsh to bring 50 runs on board for the hosts. Ranasinghe and de Silva launched a counter attack by some sensible play and collecting boundaries in regular intervals. The pair reached a 50-run partnership for the 8th wicket in 10.3 overs. Sri Lanka’s 100 came on board in 25th over.
England bowlers made it hard for the Sri Lanka pair as they could add only 27 runs in next 10 overs. They took the partnership to 81 runs in 21 overs and managed to post a respectable total.
The rain started to come down heavily at Hambantota with Sri Lanka at 127-7 after 35 overs, needing 205 runs in 15 overs. Post the more than an hour rain break, Sri Lanka needed 187 runs to win of the 5 overs after losing 10 overs to rain. At the start of the 37th over, Nilakshi de Silva lost her wicket to Kate Cross after giving the catch to wicket-keeper Amy Jones for 45. This broke the pair’s 88 runs partnership for the 8th wicket.
Oshadi Ransinghe reached her maiden half century of the last ball of the match after hitting a four to Heather Knight. England registered a massive 154 runs win via DLS method.
Brief Score: England 331-7 (N Sciver 93, A Jones 79, H Knight 61, O Ranasinghe 2-71) beat Sri Lanka 159-8 (O Ranasinghe 51*, N de Silva 45, K Brunt 3-24, K Cross 2-33) by 154 runs (DLS Method)