Home SPORTS Recent Match Report – ENG WMN vs SL WMN 3rd T20I 2023

Recent Match Report – ENG WMN vs SL WMN 3rd T20I 2023

Sri Lanka 117 for 3 (Athapaththu 44) beat England 116 (Boucher 23, Athapaththu 3-21, Dilhari 2-16, Prabhodhani 2-16) by seven wickets

Sri Lanka sealed their first series win over England in any format with a second successive shock victory. England failed to peel themselves off the canvas four days after their maiden T20I defeat to Sri Lanka, who bowled them out inside 20 overs for the second match in a row to take the series 2-1 in Derby.

Bundled out for just 104 in 18 overs at Chelmsford on Saturday, a combination of excellent bowling from Sri Lanka offspinner Kavisha Dilhari, seamer Udeshika Prabodhani and none other than their in-form captain Chamari Athapaththu – along with some soft dismissals – led to England’s downfall on this occasion, all out for 116 after 19 overs.

Then Athapaththu produced a signature display of power-hitting to break the back of the run chase. Despite falling just shy of her second successive half-century, she did enough to lead her side to victory by seven wickets with 18 balls to spare and deliver England’s first bilateral T20I series defeat to a side other than Australia since 2010. The result will also give her side a significant confidence boost ahead of the three-match ODI series between these sides starting in Durham on Saturday.

Calamitous start for England

The hosts were off to a shocker when Danni Wyatt spooned the first ball of the match, from Inoshi Priyadharshani straight Hasini Perera at cover. Their woes deepened when fellow opener Maia Bouchier flicked Prabodhani to square leg and turned for a second run, changing her mind about a quarter of the way back down the pitch and turning round with her back to Alice Capsey.

By that stage, Capsey was steaming back for two, and kept going as Prabhodhani transferred the throw from the outfield for wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani to whip off the bails with both batters at the same end, Capsey shaking her head in disbelief before trudging off with her side 11 for 2.

Back-to-back fours from Bouchier off Athapaththu in the next over, advancing to drive wide of mid-off and swinging away through square leg, helped England recover to 41 for 2 but no sooner had she cut Prabodhani through backward point for her fourth boundary, Bouchier picked out Dilhari just inside the rope at long-on to make it 41 for 3 at the end of the Powerplay.

As it turned out, Bouchier’s 23 off 18 balls remained England’s highest individual score. By the time Dilhari nailed Heather Knight on the pad as she tried to reverse-sweep an offbreak which kept low, the home side were 70 for 4 at the halfway point of their innings and faced a huge task to give their bowlers something to defend.

Athapaththu at it again

Athapaththu, the star of Sri Lanka’s maiden T20I victory over England in the second match with her 55 off 31 and 1 for 11, tempted Amy Jones into a drive but deceived her in the air for Sanjeewani to pull off the stumping. That left two relatively inexperienced batters in the middle in Freya Kemp and Dani Gibson with just 72 runs on the board and five wickets down.

That became six when Kemp skied Dilhari straight down the ground and into the hands of Nilakshi de Silva, running round from long-on, Dilhari having set her up nicely with a run of three dot balls.

When Charlie Dean had her stumps rearranged by Inoka Ranaweera, Sarah Glenn strode out to hearty applause from her hometown crowd. She offered Ranaweera a chance at an extremely tough return catch that flew through the bowler’s hands three balls later. Gibson did all she could with some powerful hitting and excellent placement to reach 21 off 15 until she edged a gem of a yorker from Prabodhani onto her stumps.

Glenn managed to overturn her lbw dismissal off Athapaththu when she was struck on the pad while sweeping, replays showing the ball was going down the leg sided. But Athapaththu had the last word with two wickets in as many balls, Kate Cross stumped and Mahika Gaur pinned in line with middle stump.

Faint hopes dashed

That was, of course, just the start for Athapaththu, who then commanded Sri Lanka’s pursuit with authority and flair. She powered Cross’s second ball – the eighth of the innings – over backward square leg for six and despatched Gaur to the same region for another maximum in the next over to signal her intent. Two off-side fours in three balls off Dean took her side to the end of the Powerplay on 58 without loss.

It was Dean who took the catch running round to her right from deep midwicket off Capsey to remove the threat of Athapaththu, who had reached 44 off 28, and that gave England a lift. Sanjeewani had been the perfect support act for Athapaththu during their opening stand of 65 but then Glenn drew her in with a flighted delivery outside off stump and Capsey swallowed the catch at mid-off.

England’s faint hopes took a hit when Cross had her lbw dismissal of Vishmi Gunaratne overturned when ball-tracking projected it was going down the leg side and even though Glenn removed Gunaratne lbw a short time later, the tourists were too far gone towards a landmark win.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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