Sri Lanka 269-7 England 150: Maharoof's swing has England dancing to destruction

Someday, it is fair to presume, England will again defeat Sri Lanka in a one-day match. On the evidence of the opening contest of the series yesterday, it is advisable that there should not be too much holding of breath. It is far more likely to be later instead of sooner; say next year, or the one after, or the one after that.

The victory, by 119 runs, was a formality for the home side. It was their seventh successive win against England and only against Australia have England suffered a worse sequence. If Sri Lanka had the better of the conditions on a slow surface, they also played the more intelligent cricket: B-plus students were opposing the D-minus set.

"It was an eye-opener for the boys who haven't played in Sri Lanka and about the skills that are needed here," the England captain, Paul Collingwood, said. "It's a proper scrap – they don't give you anything. This is where we have to show our character."

England, bullish coming into the match, got most things wrong. Dropping Monty Panesar for the fifth time this year and recalling Graeme Swann after almost eight years and 175 matches was bold, if surprising. Calling incorrectly at the toss was forgivable but much of what followed was less easy to accept.

The misdemeanours may have started in the build-up. On being informed that Muttiah Muralitharan was injured, England insisted on practising as if the legendary off-spinner was playing. For all anybody will ever know they might have given him a lesson he would not forget in the art of batting against mystery spin.

What they were ill-prepared for, unfortunately, was the array of skilful seam bowling that confronted them. The pitch was slow and becoming slower and lower, but England were hapless in their attempts to chase 270, which would have been comfortably the highest winning second-innings total at the ground.

They failed to rotate the strike, chose shots poorly and never came to terms with the pace of the pitch or the wily variations of pace used by the Sri Lankans, and especially the unsung Farveez Maharoof. Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow – maybe it needed Mark Ramprakash in his Strictly Come Dancing mode.

It would have been more excusable had England not seen Sri Lanka pace their innings impeccably, looking for gaps, hunting down singles and keeping wickets in hand until the last 10 overs. Only one batsman made 50 but five went beyond 30, which was priceless.

On winning the toss they weighed their options, assessing what a decent score might be. But they always kept the scoreboard moving, deflecting here, nudging there, pushing, shoving, lapping. Mahela Jayawardene was particularly delightful, a master of the delicate shot.

England might have thought they bowled well, and indeed they did not bowl badly. The most heartening of their seven wickets was the debutant wicketkeeper Philip Mustard's stumping of Kumar Sangakkara off Swann, the batsman beaten by flight and turn. Might this be the first of many such alliances?

The trouble was that only once here had more runs been made in the first innings. England started well, Mustard blasting a few before naïvety undid him, but then decline set in. Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and Collingwood all failed. By the time Swann and Ravi Bopara compiled a pleasant partnership the game was up.

Dambulla scoreboard

Sri Lanka (won toss)

W U Tharanga c Collingwood b Broad 40

S T Jayasuriya c Bopara b Sidebottom 41

†K C Sangakkara st Mustard b Swann 38

*D P M Jayawardene c Shah b Collingwood 66

L P C Silva c Cook b Collingwood 33

T M Dilshan not out 11

J Mubarak c Anderson b Broad 1

M F Maharoof c Anderson b Sidebottom 22

W P U Vaas not out 1

Extras (b3 lb5 w8) 16

Total (for 7, 50 overs) 269

Fall: 1-71 2-95 3-166 4-225 5-237 6-240 7-264.

Did not bat: S L Malinga, C R D Fernando.

Bowling: Anderson 8-0-47-0 (3w); Sidebottom 10-0-56-2 (2w); Broad 10-0-54-2 (2w); Collingwood 10-0-44-2 (1w); Swann 10-0-47-1; Shah 2-0-13-0.


A N Cook c Sangakkara b Maharoof 46

†P Mustard c Malinga b Maharoof 27

I R Bell c Sangakkara b Maharoof 0

K P Pietersen c Sangakkara b Maharoof 1

*P D Collingwood c D P M D Jayawardene

b Fern 9

O A Shah c Mubarak b Malinga 7

R S Bopara not out 27

G P Swann c Malinga b Dilshan 24

S C J Broad run out 1

R J Sidebottom st Sangakkara b Dilshan 2

J M Anderson c D P M D Jayawardene

b Jaya 0

Extras (w6) 6

Total (34.5 overs) 150

Fall: 1-43 2-58 3-60 4-73 5-91 6-102 7-144 8-145 9-149.

Bowling: Vaas 5-0-32-0 (1w); Malinga 6-0-32-1 (3w); Fernando 7-0-23-1 (1w); Maharoof 10-2-31-4; Dilshan 4-0-20-2 (1w); Jayasuriya 2.5-0-12-1.

Sri Lanka win by 119 runs

Man of the match: Farveez Maharoof (S Lanka).

Series: Sri Lanka lead 1-0.

Remaining matches: Thursday: Second one-day international (Dambulla). 7 Oct: Third one-day international (Dambulla). 10 Oct: Fourth one-day international (Colombo). 13 Oct: Fifth one-day international (Colombo).

A poster by Durham Constabulary
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine