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June 28, 2011
England 229 for 8 (Kieswetter 61, Morgan 45) beat Sri Lanka 121 (Anderson 4-18, Swann 3-18) by 110 runs - D/L
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Alastair Cook's personal contribution may have been modest in the extreme, but he will not care a jot about that, after England's new era of ODI cricket was launched with a crushing 110-run victory over Sri Lanka at The Oval. James Anderson was the hero with a spell of three wickets in his first 17 balls, and 4 for 18 all told, as the same opponents who brought England's World Cup campaign to a humiliating conclusion in Colombo three months ago were themselves rolled aside for 121 in a rain-affected encounter.
As grudge matches go, this was not exactly a high-octane encounter. Long before a three-hour delay for a thunderstorm had reduced the contest to 32 overs a side, the peculiar comings and goings of Sanath Jayasuriya had reduced the contest to something of a circus. Nevertheless, for Anderson, there was personal atonement at stake. He had not even been selected for that ten-wicket trouncing at the World Cup, after succumbing to exhaustion towards the end of England's winter odyssey. But under the Oval floodlights he demonstrated his qualities in an irresistible performance, which also included a brilliant leap at midwicket to give Jade Dernbach his maiden ODI wicket.
All throughout the winter, one-day wickets proved hard for Anderson to come by - he managed 11 in 83 overs all told. So it was richly ironic that his first breakthrough of the evening came with one of the worst balls he's bowled all year. Tillakaratne Dilshan, whose century in Colombo had helped condemn England to defeat, marked his return from a broken thumb with a flicked pull off a leg-side long-hop, and Tim Bresnan at fine leg hardly had to move to complete a simple dismissal.
Bresnan, who was himself back in the team after recovering from a calf strain, had earlier helped England post a competitive target of 232 with four fours in consecutive legitimate deliveries. He then reduced Sri Lanka to 6 for 2 after ten balls, as Jayasuriya's 445th and final ODI appearance ended with a rifled cut to Eoin Morgan in the gully. Anderson then trapped Mahela Jayawardene plumb lbw with a nipbacker, and three balls later, Sri Lanka had passed the point of no return at 15 for 4, as Kumar Sangakkara chipped a return catch to the same bowler.
The remainder of the innings was a tactical saunter for Cook, who made his first bowling change in the ninth over as his fellow England captain Stuart Broad came into the attack (for another less-than-convincing spell, it has to be said). Dernbach then used the familiarity of his Surrey home ground and the placid match situation to help himself to impressive debut figures of 2 for 25, before Suraj Randiv and Lasith Malinga biffed a ninth-wicket stand of 52 to massage the final margin. At no stage, however, could Sri Lanka threaten a comeback, and Graeme Swann sealed the deal with three cheap wickets in five overs.
All in all, it was a richly satisfying day for Captain Cook - his fourth victory in as many ODIs at the helm, after a 3-0 series win in Bangladesh last year. His intention of leading from the front had fallen a touch flat after Malinga strangled him down the leg-side for a three-ball 5, but at least he could say he had improved his career ODI strike-rate of 71.
After being asked to bat first, England's momentum was further thwarted when the heavens opened after seven overs, with their innings uninspiringly placed at 35 for 1. However, when they resumed with 18 overs shaved off their allocation, Craig Kieswetter produced his best England performance since the World Twenty20 final in May 2010. He raised his tempo from a cautious 13 from 23 balls at the break to an ambitious 61 from 56, before he took on the slog-sweep against Randiv and top-edged a simple chance to Suranga Lakmal at short third man.
Jonathan Trott, England's unsung hero from an erratic World Cup campaign, continued in his unflappable vein, picking off five fours with scarcely a shot in anger to reach 23 from 24 balls, while Kevin Pietersen looked in prime touch before slapping a first-ball long-hop from Jeevan Mendis to midwicket. But England's other key contributor was Morgan, whose inventive repertoire was once again on show as he picked off a total of six fours in his 35-ball 45, before one lofted drive too many resulted in a simple catch for Thilina Kandamby at long-off.
From 142 for 3 after 20 overs, England stuttered to 194 for 6 after 29, before a late volley of boundaries from Bresnan allowed them to finish with a flourish. In the end, however, it was not even close. That's generally been the rule for limited-overs encounters between these two teams, but on this occasion, the tables were turned emphatically.
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