At Lord's, August 16. England won by 36 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka. International debut: I. D. Austin.
England maintained the momentum of their Test series win against South Africa six days earlier and on a perfect Lord's day, pleased a packed house with a convincing bowling performance. The white ball swung even in the fine weather, imposing unfamiliar constraints on the Sri Lankans' blistering batting. England had anticipated this by preferring specialists to bits-and-pieces men in their squad. Included - but left out here - were Atherton and Fraser, plus the slow left-armer, Giles. Ealham was also picked, but withdrew through injury and was replaced, unexpectedly, by the burly 32-year-old Lancastrian Ian Austin, regarded by many as the epitome of the cheerful county journeyman. Austin had been pulled off the field at Headingly in the midst of the Roses match. But the star of this game was Hick, who had added to his air of mystery by failing yet again in the Tests. Here, with no one round the bat, he played with complete authority. Stands with Stewart and Hussain gave England the basis for a decent score, but the later batsmen failed totally. Sri Lanka immediately ran into trouble when Gough, Martin and Mullally all achieved clean-air turbulence; there was a regular clatter of wickets and England were never threatened. On the day they also outfielded Sri Lanka - who dropped five catches. However the calculators showed that Sri Lanka's net run-rate had already secured their return four days later for the final.
© John Wisden & Co