England make winning start
England Women 224 for 4 (Brindle 64*, Newton 59) beat Sri Lanka Women 60 (Birch 4-14) by 164 runs
England Women launched their tour of Sri Lanka with a resounding 164-run win in the first one-day international at Colombo. Laura Newton and Arran Brindle struck half-centuries before the England attack skittled Sri Lanka for just 60.
Although the result is not a surprise - England were always expected to convincingly beat the Sri Lankans - it was the perfect start to the tour, which includes five one-dayers (two in Sri Lanka and three in India) and a Test match in India. Following the match Richard Bates, the England coach, spoke to Cricinfo.
"It was a very pleasing start on a pitch that was probably slightly below par and was very slow and low. So to get 224, it was very hard work, and a good score. It was pleasing to see a couple of them get fifties and then we were very professional with the way be bowled them out."
After winning the toss Charlotte Edwards, in her first match as captain replacing the injured Clare Connor, was trapped lbw for 15 to break an opening stand of 48. Newton and Clare Taylor carried the total past 100, but England then suffered a double setback when Praba Udawatte removed Taylor and Jenny Gunn in quick succession (110 for 3). When Newton was dimissed for 59, England had lost 3 for 21.
Brindle and Lydia Greenway then combined in a fifth-wicket stand of 93. With a slow outfield keeping the boundary count down, both players ran well between the wickets. The pair increased the tempo, Brindle reaching her half-century off 47 balls.
The Sri Lankans had no answer to the England attack, succumbing in just under 30 overs. Although the opening bowlers - in particular Katherine Brunt - struggled with wides, once the first breakthrough arrived the rest fell like skittles. Rosalie Birch was impressive with her offspin claiming 4 for 14.
This is the first time England have toured Sri Lanka and Bates was full of praise for the way the team have adapted to the tough conditions. "The girls are coping pretty well considering that we only arrived here two days ago. We have only been able to fit in one practice session before today and that was affected by the weather. It is tough to go from that straight into a one-day international but the girls did very well."