England 229/8 off 32 overs (Kieswetter 61, Morgan 45, Malinga 3-40)
Sri Lanka 121ao off 27 overs (Malinga 26, Anderson 4-18, Swann 3-18)
England won by 110 runs (D/L)
A surprising demolition by England as Sri Lanka capitulated under the floodlights.
Jimmy Anderson looked a different bowler to the tired, expensive version that was carted around the subcontinent in the World Cup. He finally showed his masterful swing bowling with the white ball in taking 4-18, including the trio of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. A fantastic catch to dispose of Angelo Mathews was further evidence of his fine fielding. He was ably supported: Tim Bresnan deserves credit for blustery lower-order hitting and a breezy spell with the new ball; Jade Dernbach also bowled well, picking up two wickets and Graeme Swann took three late wickets.
With the bat, new skipper Alastair Cook barely got in before nibbling a wide ball down the leg side, but Craig Kieswetter shone with a mix of big clubs over the boundary and clever rotation of the strike. Eoin Morgan played a typically impish innings for his 44. For the tourists, Lasith Malinga bowled menacingly, but the rest of the attack couldn’t seize the initiative from England. Batting-wise, this was carnage: in addition to the regular fall of wickets, including the top four (1283 caps between them) for 15, there could have been at least three run-outs to a bouyant England and it was only some tail-end slogging from Malinga that saw them through to 100.
Craig Kieswetter bought up his half-century with a giant six that went so high it might just have reached the top of the Shard skyscraper that is being built at London Bridge.
Intriguing. Few expected such a sizable margin of victory today, unless in Sri Lanka’s favour. Now that the Sanath Jayasuriya saga is over, the Sri Lankans will need to refocus on what they showed with the bat during the World Cup, i.e. dominant batting from the very start. Malinga aside, their bowlers need to find a way to control England’s aggressive batsmen.
England will now progress to Leeds with what used to be called a spring in their step but is now called momentum. However we have seen far too many false dawns over the years to get carried away: as impressive as they were here at The Oval, they must consider that Sri Lanka are unlikely to be quite so bad again in this form of the game.