England v Sri Lanka, 2006

Fifth One-Day International

England v Sri Lanka, 2006

Julian Guyer

At Leeds, July 1. Sri Lanka won by eight wickets. Toss: England.

Sri Lanka completed a 5-0 whitewash, England's worst head-to-head series defeat, which left them above only Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Kenya in the ICC rankings. In an assault of unparalleled ferocity, Tharanga and Jayasuriya piled up 286 in 32 overs, a record opening stand in one-day internationals and the third-highest for any wicket; Sri Lanka overtook a seemingly imposing 321 with an almost ludicrous 75 balls to spare. In his 362nd one-day international, equalling the record of Sachin Tendulkar and Inzamam-ul-Haq, Jayasuriya plundered 152 in 99 balls, with four sixes and 20 fours. But England's 15th defeat in 19 one-day games could not be put down to a single brilliant innings. Tharanga, the sorcerer's apprentice, scored 109 in 102 balls, his now familiar cover-drives joining Jayasuriya's trademark upper-cuts and leg-side flicks. In their first three overs, England had scored one run, after Vaas began with two bewitching maidens of late swing off a good length, a feat almost unheard of in the modern one-day game; at the same stage, Jayasuriya and Tharanga had 46. Fred Trueman had died earlier in the day, his passing touchingly marked by his home crowd with both a minute's silence and another minute's applause, and it was tempting to cite his catchphrase, "I don't know what's going off out there." But Trueman would have known all too well, and said so. Strauss surprisingly delayed Harmison's entry until ten wicketless overs went for 97, beating Derek Pringle for England's most expensive one-day spell. The peculiar cruelty was that England's best batting of the series gave Sri Lanka little option but to chase at breathtaking speed. Trescothick completed England's first one-day hundred against Test opposition since his own century here against Australia 12 months earlier, though Malinga bowled impressively at the end and claimed four wickets. The early finish allowed the crowd to watch the climax of the England football team's World Cup quarter-final against Portugal on the big screen: England lost that too, on penalties.

Man of the Match: S. T. Jayasuriya.

Man of the Series: S. T. Jayasuriya.

© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack