Woakes, Root lead England to easy win v Sri Lanka in 1st ODI

·3-min read

CHESTER-LE-STREET, England (AP) — Chris Woakes paved the way for victory and Joe Root delivered it with ease as England cruised to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international on Tuesday with 15 overs to spare.

Woakes had bowled just seven overs for the national team since he was named England’s player of the year in September, but it was his bowling that settled matters at Chester-le-Street.

He claimed 4-18 from his 10 overs, restricting the weakened tourists to a less-than-competitive 185 all out in 42.3 overs after England won the toss and chose to field.

Jonny Bairstow took 43 off the target in a frenzy of boundary-hitting at the top of the order and, after a brief wobble, Root saw the hosts across the line with 79 not out as England reached 189-5 in 34.5 overs.

After losing 3-0 to England in the T20 series, Sri Lanka went into the ODI opener weakened by the loss of senior players Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka. Sri Lanka suspended the players and sent them home from its tour after they broke the squad’s anti-coronavirus rules by being pictured outside the team hotel.

Kusal Perera scored a hard-fought 73 off 81 balls and shared a stand of 99 with all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga for Sri Lanka's fourth wicket. Hasaranga had been promoted up the order to No. 5 and responded with a typically enterprising 54 off 65, including six fours and a six.

Perera was playing a different game to his teammates in the 10-over powerplay, racing to 32 not out from just 16 balls while England took 3-15 at the other end. Woakes struck twice with the new ball, deceiving Pathum Nissanka with a slow bouncer and taking out Dasun Shanaka via a regulation outside edge. Between those strikes, David Willey made it a debut to forget for Charith Asalanka, nicking to slip for a duck.

England’s hopes of running through the order were held up for more than 20 overs by Perera and Hasaranga before Woakes struck with Hasaranga taking on a bumper but flapping to Liam Livingstone in the deep. The next six wickets were scooped up for just 40 runs, Woakes completing his haul by seeing off Dhananjaya Lakshan.

Willey ended with 3-44, including the wicket of Perera, after taking on the long square boundary and picking out Sam Billings.

In reply, Bairstow cut and drove with disdain. When Binura Fernando dropped short on the pads, Bairstow rocked back and launched a pull for six.

Livingstone was a virtual bystander until he pounded a free hit into the stands, but he was gone two balls later with a mis-hit off Chamika Karunaratne. Bairstow’s 21-ball assault ended in the very next over, dragging Fernando onto his stumps.

Eoin Morgan and Billings both fell cheaply to flat-footed strokes off Dushmantha Chameera, before Perera failed to hold the edge that Moeen Ali offered off his very first ball.

Where England should have been 80-5, when Moeen (28) eventually did depart the hosts were just 15 from victory on 171.

Root had no reason to move out of his comfort zone, scoring only four boundaries during his 87-ball innings. He was leaning on his bat at the non-striker’s end when Sam Curran directed a full toss into the leg-side.

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