England suffer heaviest ODI defeat

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A dismal England fell to their heaviest defeat in one-day international cricket as Sri Lanka thrashed the tourists by 219 runs in the final ODI in Colombo.

With England having already won the five-match series, they made three changes, resting captain Eoin Morgan.

They bowled and fielded poorly, with Niroshan Dickwella scoring 95 as Sri Lanka posted 366-6 – the hosts’ highest score against England in ODI cricket.

England slumped to 4-3 in reply and were 132-9 when rain stopped play.

Umpire Aleem Dar ran from the pitch as a heavy storm broke while also signalling that Liam Plunkett’s dismissal for lbw had been confirmed on review.

That ninth wicket lifted the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern par score to 351 and, with no further play possible, the match was abandoned shortly after 16:35 BST, leaving England 219 runs behind.

England’s previous biggest margin of defeat in terms of runs was 165 runs, which has happened twice – against Pakistan at Karachi in 2005 and West Indies at Kingstown in 1994.

Having won the ODI series 3-1, England now face Sri Lanka in the sole Twenty20 on Saturday before the three-Test series starts on 6 November.

This was a strange and at times disconcerting display by England, at odds with the commanding manner in which they had won the three previous matches.

Fast bowler Mark Wood and left-arm swinger Sam Curran came in to open the bowling together but were targeted by Sri Lanka openers Dickwella and Sadeera Samarawickrama, who cruised 72-0 off the first 10 overs.

Moeen Ali offered some control before he too became expensive, while Adil Rashid was easily England’s best bowler in taking 1-52 off his 10 overs, but the tourists never dragged Sri Lanka back and became increasingly fractious.

Ben Stokes’ fury rose in line with his economy before he berated Wood and Moeen for misfields. Tom Curran later did the same to younger brother Sam – playing their first international together and the first brothers to do so for England since Adam and the late Ben Hollioake in 1999.

Those conflicts were a sign of the standards England hold themselves to and how far short of them they were falling in an unruly and disjointed performance, showing how much Morgan’s calm presence was missed. (Courtesy BBC)

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