England v Sri Lanka: Hosts wrap up T20 series with five-wicket win

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England recovered from 36-4 to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets and win the series with a game to spare in a rain-affected second Twenty20 in Cardiff.

After a 40-minute rain break at 69-4, England chased a revised 103 to win with 11 balls to spare.
Sam Billings fell for 24, but Liam Livingstone, batting at six rather than opening like for Lancashire, hit 29*.

Sri Lanka made 111-7, with Kusal Mendis making 39 and Mark Wood and Adil Rashid taking two wickets each.

The final game in the three-match series takes place at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday.

England v Sri Lanka – highlights & reaction
England v Sri Lanka – schedule
England impress in field
England made two changes from their eight-wicket win on Wednesday, with Jos Buttler rested as a precaution with a calf strain, while David Willey, playing his first T20 international in more than two years, replaced Chris Woakes.

Willey started well, but it was his new-ball partner Sam Curran who got the early breakthroughs as he ran out Danushka Gunathilaka with some nifty footwork, before Avishka Fernando picked out deep square leg.

Mendis and Kusal Perera put on 50 for the third wicket, but in nine overs, as both struggled to find the boundary on the same pitch that was used on Wednesday.

Adil Rashid, who ended with figures of 2-24, broke that partnership when he had Perera caught in the covers, before Mark Wood, who impressed in taking 2-18, dismissed Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella in successive balls.

Until the final over, when number eight Isuru Udana hit a four and six off Chris Jordan, Mendis was the only Sri Lankan to find the boundary.

England were impressive with the ball and in the field, bowling 52 dot balls, while Sri Lanka became only the 16th team in history to fail to hit a boundary in the six-over powerplay, when they only reached 26-2.

Billings & Livingstone aid World Cup case
Having chased 130 with the minimum of fuss just 24 hours before, England’s chase was expected to be a formality but Jonny Bairstow was bowled in the second over by Binura Fernando before Dawid Malan was given out lbw on review.

Malan, who is the number-one ranked T20 batsman in the world, averages 48 in the format, but has struggled in 2021 against India and now in this series, with his average down at 26.50.

Captain Eoin Morgan then cut a wide ball straight to point to leave the hosts 31-3 at the end of the powerplay – their lowest score in the six overs since 2015, and the first time they have lost three wickets in the spell in a home international since 2013.

Their struggles continued as Jason Roy danced down the track and picked out long-on to leave them struggling at 36-4.

Billings and Livingstone, who are likely competing for one slot in England’s squad for the T20 World Cup due to take place in India in October, showed maturity and calmness before the rain break.

Both manoeuvred the ball around before the rain delay, before breaking the back of the 34 needed from six overs with a boundary apiece.

Billings was bowled as he looked to cut Wanindu Hasaranga away, before Curran made 16 off eight deliveries, including hitting a straight six to win the game.


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