England’s hopes of progressing smoothly to the World Cup semi-finals were dealt a shock blow at Headingley, where Sri Lanka upset the form book to land a 20-run win.
The hosts were chasing a modest 233 as they sought a victory that would have seen them leapfrog Australia in first place, but instead crashed to 212 all out.
They were undone by Sri Lanka’s two oldest stagers, 32-year-old Angelo Mathews digging deep for an unbeaten 85 that kept the first innings afloat and 35-year-old seamer Lasith Malinga rolling back the years with four for 43.
The veteran quick ripped out four of the top six in a match-turning contribution, leaving England with two defeats in their six matches and staring at a run-in that pits them against Australia, India and New Zealand.
England had been handsome favourites at the halfway stage, restricting their opponents to a modest 232 for nine with a disciplined bowling performance, but never found any momentum with the bat.
Joe Root scrapped for 57 and Ben Stokes launched a stirring late fightback before being stranded on 82 not out, Mark Wood last man out to Nuwan Pradeep in the 47th over.
There were a handful of slack shots to bemoan when the post mortem takes place, with the record-breaking, six-strewn outing against Afghanistan three days earlier a distant memory.
Jofra Archer had earlier continued his happy hunting on the big stage, taking three wickets for the fifth time in six games to join Australia’s Mitchell Starc on top of bowling charts, but that was cold comfort for a side now facing considerable pressure. Source – Telegraph UK