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In what turned out to be a one-sided match, Sri Lanka put England through the grinder in the 25th game of the 2023 World Cup on Thursday.
With both teams knowing they had to win this to stay in contention for a place in the semifinal, England stuttered with their batting after winning the toss and were bowled out for a mere 156.
Sri Lanka lost a couple of early wickets to raise the defending champions’ hopes but Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama put the game beyond them with an unbeaten third wicket stand.
Bengaluru is known to produce high-scoring games and England looked like they had started off on the right note through Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan.
Bairstow was lucky to survive an lbw shout off the first ball of the game but at 45 without loss in the seventh over, it looked like England had weathered the early storm.
It was the introduction of experienced pro Angelo Mathews that changed things around drastically.
Malan fell off his bowling while Joe Root was run-out two overs later going for an improbable single to point. And when Bairstow also offered a simple catch to the fielder off Kasun Rajitha, things had suddenly started looking very bleak for England.
It was to get worse.
Captain Jos Buttler played a swish away from his body, only to nick it to the keeper while Liam Livingstone was adjudged lbw to one that darted back in – both going to Lahiru Kumara.
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) October 26, 2023
Kumara would later add the all-important wicket of Ben Stokes, after English Test captain had top-scored with 43, and go on to win the man-of-the-match award for his figures of 3/35.
The English lower-order, propped up with the addition of bowling all-rounders, failed to offer any resistance and fell away quickly, getting bowled out in the 34th over.
David Willey offered England some hope when he scalped the wickets of Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis but from that point onward it turned into a one-way traffic.
After getting their eye in, both Nissanka and Samarawickrama would go on to complete their half-centuries as Sri Lanka finished off the chase in the 26th over. And in doing so, they improved to the fifth spot with four points from five matches.
This defeat means England continues to remain on two points from five matches and are all but certain to have been knocked out of the tournament.
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