Sri Lanka vs England only T20: Perera and Malinga star in Sri Lanka’s close win

Perera walloped seven boundaries and two sixes during his entertaining knock of 49

Perera walloped seven boundaries and two sixes during his outstanding knock of 49

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera smashed an entertaining 49 and captain Lasith Malinga took three vital wickets to give their side a nine-run win over England at The Oval.

However, England opener Alex Hales deserves a lot of credit for his valiant half-century.

England stand-in captain Eoin Morgan made the right decision to bowl first as Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan was clean bowled by debutant Harry Gurney for 14.

Kusal Perera only made 10 runs before he was caught by Ravi Bopara at short fine leg off the bowling of Chris Jordan.

Debutant Kithuruwan Vithanage and Lahiru Thirimanne stabilised the innings with a 54-run partnership before Vithanage was caught by fellow debutant Michael Carberry off the bowling of Chris Woakes for 38.

Wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal only made seven runs before he was caught by Hales at long-on off the bowling of Joe Root.

Angelo Mathews fared no better as he was caught by Root at long-off off the bowling of James Tredwell for 13.

Thirimanne ended up scoring 40 off 32 balls, which included three boundaries and a six, before he was caught by Hales at deep midwicket off the bowling of Gurney.

Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara amassed a 42-run partnership to help Sri Lanka finish on 183/7 off their 20 overs. During that partnership, Carberry dropped Perera when he was on 20.

Perera hammered 49 off 20 balls, which included seven boundaries and two sixes, before he was run out by Gurney off the last ball of the innings. Kulasekara meanwhile remained undefeated on nine.

Gurney was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Root, Woakes, Jordan and Tredwell chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 184 to win, England got off to a dreadful start as Carberry was caught by Kulasekara at third man off the bowling of Mathews for seven runs.

Ian Bell only made 13 runs before he was caught by Kusal Perera at cover off the bowling of Malinga.

Root scored five runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal.

Morgan failed to save his team as he was caught by Lakmal at long-off off the bowling of Thisara Perera for five runs.

Jos Buttler managed to make 26 before he was caught by Dilshan at deep midwicket off the bowling of Kulasekara.

Despite losing partner after partner, Hales managed to keep his cool and went on to score 66 off 41 balls, which included seven boundaries and two sixes, before he was cleaned up by Malinga.

Hales' half-century went in vain

Hales’ half-century went in vain

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Jordan only made five runs before he had his stumps shattered to become Malinga’s third victim of the match.

England eventually finished on 174/7 off their 20 overs, leaving them nine runs short of their target.

Bopara remained undefeated on 28 off 15 deliveries, which included three boundaries and a six.

Malinga was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Kulasekara, Mathews, Lakmal and Perera claimed one wicket each.

Malinga dismissed Hales, Bell and Jordan

Malinga dismissed Hales, Bell and Jordan

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Morgan admitted that England had been “outplayed”, and said: “I think we were outplayed. It cost us towards the end of the first innings, it fell away towards the end, things were quite controlled for the first 15 overs. It’s disappointing having got so close. We’ve dropped three catches which is inexcusable here. [While] Bowling we were just a little bit off our skill level. Harry Gurney played very well, you don’t often see that on début so it’s pleasing to see. We probably left a bit much to do at the death with the bat.” 

Malinga was pleased to have won the match, and said: “In the last couple of years the captain has used me in pressure situations and I’ve really enjoyed that. I enjoy the pressure. I say to the captain, no matter whatever the situation give me the ball. In the last couple of years I’ve realised my slower ball is my wicket-taking ball. Perera can hit the ball hard, he can clear the fielder. He did a really good job for us and is looking forward to this tour.”

Perera was named Man of the Match. 

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