England beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets to take 2-0 series lead in third ODI
Tom Curran added his name to the ever increasing list of England one day players screaming ‘Pick Me!’ at the first chance they get to impress.
The Surrey bowler would not have played in the seven wicket win in Pallekelle if it wasn’t for Liam Dawson’s tour ending injury but boy did he take his opportunity with 3-17 in another rain shortened game.
England’s batting has been the headline grabbing part of this side for some time, but their bowling has now caught up and is winning just as many matches as their power hitters.
With skipper Eoin Morgan again leading the charge with 58 not out to secure an unassailable 2-0 lead with two games to play, England showed once more that their one day unit can adapt and thrive in any conditions, even when it basically becomes a T20.
In a game reduced to 21 overs per side or 126 balls, England only needed 111 to overhaul Sri Lanka’s modest 150-9 thanks to Curran’s box of bowling tricks and the best all round performance from Ben Stokes in a long time.
Stokes was there alongside his captain on 35 not out, hitting the winning runs with a towering straight six, but he also did his bit with the ball after trying to persuade the officials to get the game started as the afternoon rain eased.
With both teams spending hours cooped up in their dressing rooms as the officials waited for the rain to completely stop it was no surprise that Sri Lanka flew out of the traps like hare-hungry greyhounds, but they soon ran out of puff.
Niroshan Dickwella’s first eight scoring shots were all boundaries to rich and varied parts of the ground as they raced to 55-0 from five overs.
It was Curran who put the brakes on by having Dickwella caught at mid-on for 36 and from there Sri Lanka simply never found top gear again losing 9-95 in the following 16 overs.
Adil Rashid somehow managed to grip the wet ball well enough to turn both his leg break and googly to good effect and claim 4-36 from his five overs and the man-of-the-match award.
Rashid has been doing this all year though and he is a seasoned international performer, Curran was playing in just his ninth one dayer having missed out in the entire English summer, so the pressure was on him to deliver and that is exactly what he did.
Jason Roy’s rapid fire 41 took the sting out of the chase and allowed Morgan to anchor the innings, ensuring that England’s eight series unbeaten run would be extended to nine.
“It feels so good,” said Curran. “It is good to be back in the team and go 2-0 up at the end of a long day.
“There is such strong competition in the squad. When you get your go you might only get one or two games to impress so it is great to contribute.
“Having people knocking on the door is a great place to be, and you could see that most of the boys were very eager to get out there so the rain was frustrating, but we got the game in and the result we wanted."
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