England skipper Eoin Morgan lauded Olly Stone and Chris Woakes after his team’s 31-run victory over Sri Lanka in a rain-marred second ODI in Dambulla. While Woakes claimed 3/26, Stone picked up 1/23 as Sri Lanka couldn’t recover from the early blow.
“I think the two Warwickshire boys really set the tone from the start – Chris Woakes is a very experienced campaigner and one of our MVPs in the last few years. He is an awesome guy to have in a team and we are very lucky to have him. Olly [Stone] coming in on debut showed exactly what he has shown so far on the tour. He bowled with an extra yard of pace and a great attitude. Obviously it’s a great start to the series for him and hopefully we can build on this today,” Morgan said after the match.
Earlier, Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga rediscovered some of his old magic and claimed 5-44 to restrict England to 278-9 after the visitors looked set for a 300-plus total. Morgan led from the front with nearly a run-a-ball 92, while Test captain Joe Root contributed 71.
The umpires stopped play with Sri Lanka on 140-5 after 29 overs. Thisara Perera was on 44 and Dhananjaya de Silva on 36 when play was halted. They put on 66 for the sixth wicket after Sri Lanka looked in deep trouble at 74 for five. Heavy rain was still falling an hour after the suspension and England were declared victorious under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern run rate system.
“I would like to think we have a few more gears than we showed today. It is obviously early on in the series. We will take a win, we got enough to get a win today, but ultimately, we won’t be that satisfied with the performance,” Morgan stated.
“It was not a bad start to the series. We have had a bit of an awkward start with training and then the first game with the rain that we have had. I wouldn’t say it has been our best game. I thought batting in the first innings we managed to scrape something together. We probably should have gone past par score. We ended up just scraping towards that, but in essence I don’t think it is a bad run out for us,” he further added.
England lost Jason Roy in the first over for duck but Root played with characteristic assuredness, hitting six crisp boundaries in his fluent innings. Root added 68 runs with Morgan, who initially struggled to middle the ball but soon got into a rhythm, often employing the sweep and reverse sweeps against the spinners.
“I was extremely scratchy for the first 30 balls which isn’t a surprise, I am not a great starter. But having someone like Joe Root at the other end rotating the strike, building the partnership, is always a huge help. We really enjoy batting together and when we do get a partnership it is normally quite substantial. We would have liked for us to kick on towards 300 today and Sri Lanka came back into the game beautifully and we got just above a par score,” Morgan said.
“Myself and Joe [Root], in particular found a way to score on these particular wickets. I thought Lasith [Malinga] came back and bowled particularly well at the end which we found challenging which is a nice flag-up early in the series. He obviously still has a lot to offer as an experienced and very senior bowler, so we will need to work on that going forward,” he concluded.
(With inputs from ICC)