Yorkshire’s Liam Plunkett hit a last ball six to ensure that England’s one-day series with Sri Lanka ended up in a thrilling tie. England in the one-day format are under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan. In the last 15 months much has been made of the Three Lions’ attacking approach, England were hoping to carry on their winning momentum from the test matches into the one-day series.
Winning the toss, home captain Morgan opted to field. The decision seemed justified as Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, and Kusal Mendis were all back in the pavilion before the score reached 100. Those early dismissals brought Sri Lanka’s experienced duo of Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews to the crease.
The pair put on a watchful stand of 64, the main reason for that was due to the brilliant and well-disciplined bowling of the ever improving Adil Rashid,who bowled quite wonderfully in his 10 overs.
Adil’s superb bowling was putting pressure on the Sri Lankan’s to up the scoring and that helped break the partnership. Moeen Ali was able to profit from Chandimal’s impatience as the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper was well caught by Chris Woakes. The tourists were still in trouble at 120-4.
When Prasanna came into the crease, he was able to add much-needed impetus to the Sri Lanka innings. The Sri Lankan clubbed 59 off just 28 deliveries, which was exactly what the tourists scorecard needed, but when Prasanna was out off the bowling of Chris Woakes, Upul Tharanga also was dismissed very soon after.
A collapse seemed on the cards which has happened far too often this summer in the Sri Lanka batting line-up. Thankfully for Sri Lanka Shanaka and Farveez Maharoof were able to help get the Asian side’s score up to 286-9 in their 50 overs.
On a pitch that seemed like it was giving some assistance to batsmen, Sri Lanka seemed to be about 15-20 runs short. What happened next in this match I don’t think anyone saw this coming, if anyone. England got their run chase off to a disastrous start.
The usually reliable England to order crumbled, Alex Hales,Jason Roy and Joe Root were all back in the hut before the score had got to 20. Outcome Bairstow next, the man who had been England’s saviour in the test series, but even he didn’t really trouble the scorers as the Yorkshireman was out for three.
It was left to Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler to recover the situation, but when Morgan was the fifth man out with the score not even getting over 100, an absolute mauling for England was on the cards.
Thankfully for England in the one-day format, they have been able to call on Jos Buttler and yet again the wicketkeeper-batsmen produced the goods. After Moeen Ali’s fell in quick succession to his captain’s, it was left to Chris Woakes and Buttler to drag the hosts back into the game.
The seventh wicket pair brilliantly put on 138 for the seventh wicket to drag England right back into contention. Sadly for England disaster struck as Joss Buttler holed out and was excellently caught on the long off boundary by Dasun Shanaka. David Willey was the next batsmen in.
Yorkshire all-rounder Willey has impressed with the bat over the years, but sadly in this game, the 24-year old struggled to make an impression. David Willey was duly put out of his misery and was dismissed for just seven.
At this point, Sri Lanka were firmly in the box seat, but what was about to happen next I am sure not even the most optimistic of England fan would have saw coming. The hosts England were needing 15 an over, which with the greatest respect to England seemed near impossible, but cometh the hour cometh the man.
That man on this occasion was Liam Plunkett. The Yorkshire all-rounder has been in good form with the bat this year and the 29-year old took his good form on to the international stage for England. The Three Lions thanks to lusty blows from Plunkett were able to tie a game that they seemed almost certain to lose.
The tie was secured with a six off the last ball, this was only the eighth time in England’s one-day international history that they had a tied a match. The second one day international between the two sides will be on Friday in Bristol.