Champions Trophy: England v Sri Lanka halfway report


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The Independent Online

A late flurry from England ensured that, despite a slight middle order collapse, they batted themselves into a very strong position at the halfway stage of their Champions Trophy clash with Sri Lanka.

Ravi Bopara was the hero, striking 33 from 13 balls, including 28 from the last over as England finished on 293/7.

Put in to bat by Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell got England off to their customary steady start, content to see off any early movement from the ball and build a steady foundation.

They both looked assured at the crease, so it was something of a disappointment when Bell tamely clipped a ball to Kusal Perera at midwicket to depart for 20 and give Shaminda Eranga a wicket.

However England were unperturbed by the loss and Cook and Jonathan Trott continued in much the same vein, bringing up their fifty partnership and England’s 100 in the 23rd over.

Alastair Cook, who was dropped on 23, soon moved to his half century although he could only add nine more before Rangana Herath trapped him LBW as he attempted to sweep.

England though once again did not allow themselves to get bogged down after the loss of wicket and Joe Root, showing no ill effects from his recent brush with David Warner’s fist, batted busily accumulating runs in ones and twos.

Trott soon had his half-century from 63 balls as England moved to 160/2 by the 35th over and a rare productive batting powerplay followed with England adding 37 runs without losing a wicket.

The pair made 87 together before Trott was eventually trapped LBW by Herath on 76 in the 42nd over. Root continued to add runs and became the third England batsmen to reach 50 although benefited from some woeful Sri Lankan fielding that meant he was dropped twice.

England looked in slight trouble when Lasith Malinga struck twice in two balls to remove Root and Eoin Morgan and Nuwan Kulasekara had Jos Buttler caught behind for 0.

When Tim Bresnan was bowled an over later for 4, with the score at 254/7 England looked to have squandered their excellent start but Bopara’s late heroics ensured they went in to the break very much on top.