Hales and Roy power England to record-breaking ten-wicket victory
England 256 for 0 (Hales 133*, Roy 112*) beat Sri Lanka 254 for 7 (Tharanga 53*, Chandimal 52, Mathews 44*) by ten wickets
A record opening stand has powered England to an overwhelming victory in the second ODI of the Royal London series against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston.
Alex Hales and Jason Roy both thrashed centuries as England completed a ten-wicket win with 95 balls remaining. It is just the sixth such victory England have achieved in their ODI history and the highest score against which any side has achieved it. It is the fifth time Sri Lanka have been defeated by ten wickets in an ODI.
Their stand was not only a record for England’s opening pair – overhauling Vikram Solanki and Marcus Tresocthick’s 200 partnership against South Africa in 2003 – but the highest for any wicket in ODIs by England batsmen. Previously, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott – who put on 250 together against Bangladesh here in 2010 – held the record.
England have suffered often at Sri Lankan hands in ODI cricket. Apart from the 2006 ODI series which Sri Lanka won 5-0 – including overhauling England’s apparently impressive 321 at Leeds with 12-and-a-half overs to spare – there have been memorable, and critical, defeats in the last two World Cups.
But, at the ground where England’s ODI revolution started just over a year ago, they demonstrated that the balance of power may have shifted with a devastatingly one-sided victory. This Sri Lanka side, missing the world-class stars with which they had become familiar, lacked the batting firepower to make first use of an excellent surface and the bowling potency to prevent England’s batsmen from galloping to victory.
Not for a moment did it appear that Sri Lanka had set a competitive target. And while Hales and Roy played themselves in relatively calmly – both men took 55 deliveries over their first half-century – the manner with which they pulverised the Sri Lankan bowling once set was reminiscent of the punishment that used to be handed out to English bowlers by Sanath Jayasuiriya on a regular basis.
At one stage they struck four sixes in succession – Hales punishing Seekkuga Prasanna for three sixes and two fours in five successive balls – as they made use of an impressively hard, true wicket to skip down the pitch and hit over the top. Both men registered their highest ODI scores, with Roy making his first half-century in eight ODI innings and Hales making his sixth fifty-plus score (and second century) in seven successive ODIs. It is England’s first victory in five ODIs, following three defeats in a row in South Africa and Tuesday’s tie at Trent Bridge.
Hales, using his reach to drive four of his sixes and slog-sweep two more, took just 36 balls over his second 50, while Roy, with four straight sixes, demonstrating both bat-speed and power, took 37. Sri Lanka’s frontline spinners took much of the flak, conceding 140 runs – including eight sixes – in 16.1 overs. It made it entirely understandable that one of the umpires, Bruce Oxenford, utilised an arm guard on his left arm to protect him should a ball be thrashed in his direction.
Hales gave one clear chance, Danushka Gunathilaka at point missing a simple chance when the batsman had 126, but by then the game was all but decided.
It was Roy who claimed the man-of-the-match award. As well as his century, he played a significant role in two run-outs, first swooping at backward point, picking up the ball in his left-handed, transferring it to his right and throwing down the stumps with a direct hit to dismiss the dangerous Kusal Perera, before managing another good pick-up and throw to punish Dinesh Chandimal’s attempt to set off for an optimistic single.
It was part of an improved performance in the field from England. Although Hales, at second slip, was unable to cling on to a tough chance offered by Gunathilaka off Chris Woakes on 5, Adil Rashid delivered another well-controlled 10 overs of leg-spin (he has now conceded just 70 runs in 20 overs this series), Jonny Bairstow impressed the sell-out crowd with his outrageous pace and powerful throw as a boundary sweeper and David Willey held a brilliant catch at mid-on. He originally appeared to have misjudged the catch with some confusion as to whether to leave it to Hales, at mid-off, but, at the last moment, he launched himself full length and clung on to the ball.
It all meant that Sri Lanka limped – both literally and metaphorically – to a total that always looked well under par.
While Angelo Mathews passed a fitness test before the toss, he looked someway below his best and, when Chandimal also required on-field treatment having appeared to suffer a hamstring strain, it left the pair limited in both mobility and in terms of their speed between the wickets. Mathews was later unable to bowl, while Chandimal was unable to keep wicket and was replaced behind the stumps by Perera.
The pair added 82 in 16 overs for the fourth wicket – easily the highest stand of the Sri Lanka innings – but, bearing in mind that England scored 408 in the last ODI on this ground (against New Zealand in June 2015), it always looked too sedate to prove match-winning. At one stage, they had to be content with 25 runs in succession picked up in singles.
It could have been worse. At 191 for 7 in the 41st over, it seemed Sri Lanka might struggle to bat out their 50 overs. But a late rally from Upul Tharanga, becoming accustomed to his new role in the middle-order, and Suraj Randiv, who came into the side in place of seam-bowling allrounder Dasun Shanaka, at least gave Sri Lanka a chance.
The pair thrashed 44 from the last four overs of the innings with Tharanga reaching a 46-ball half-century (with five fours and a six) and Randiv paddling, squirting and sprinting his way to 26 from 27 balls.
Victory means that England have also taken an unassailable 13-3 lead in the Super Series. With three ODIs and one T20I to play, there are a maximum of eight points to play for in the rest of the series.