Livingstone and Curran help England overcome rain and collapse to beat Sri Lanka


ngland overcame a top order batting wobble and a clump of rain to seal their T20 series against Sri Lanka with a game to spare. It was an ugly, low-scoring game but England will not mind one jot.

Having limited Sri Lanka to just 111 from their 20 overs on a sluggish surface, England slumped to 36 for four, and required Liam Livingstone to bail them out.

Either side of a rain delay that saw their target reduced to 103 from 18 overs, Livingstone put on 54 from 40 balls with Sam Billings – in the side for Wednesday’s star batter Jos Buttler – to carry England to the brink of victory. After Billings was dismissed, they made it home by five wickets with 11 balls to spare

Despite a superb bowling performance, England might consider this something of an escape. After opting to bat first for the second time in two nights, Sri Lanka’s 111 was the lowest score ever made in a full T20 innings against England. They made a mighty fist of defending it.

Here’s some talking points as England wrapped up the series:

Action Images via Reuters

This was a rare appearance on terrestrial TV for the national team, but nothing about it was terribly beautiful.

First, Buttler, star of the win on Wednesday, withdrew with a calf injury. On a tired pitch, Sri Lanka put in an ugly batting performance, and England’s top order weren’t much better. Then the rain intervened. At least England eventually secured victory, but it had not been the greatest advert for the game.

Sri Lanka got off to a desperately slow start – and they never caught up.

They failed to score a boundary in the powerplay, which brought them just 26 runs. It was the first time that England had not conceded a boundary in the first six overs of a T20, and the first time Sri Lanka had failed to score one.

The arrival of Mark Wood’s extra pace in the eighth over saw them finally score a four from the 46th ball of the innings, but there were only a total of six boundaries in the innings. Skipper Kusal Perera was dismissed by Adil Rashid in the 13th over, having faced 25 balls, and failed to hit a four.

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In the first game of the series, England scored as many boundaries in the powerplay (10) as Sri Lanka did in the whole innings. Jos Buttler scored nine on his own. In the second game, Sri Lanka got even worse. Isuru Udana (only the second player to hit a boundary) took 14 from Chris Jordan’s final over, but that could not mask a woeful display of batting.

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