England v Sri Lanka: Jos Buttler eases hosts to T20 victory

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
Twenty20 international, Southampton
Sri Lanka 140 (20 overs): Dawson 3-27, Jordan 3-29
England 144-2 (17.3 overs): Buttler 73* (49), Morgan 47* (39)
England won by eight wickets

Jos Buttler hit 73 not out after an excellent England bowling and fielding display as Sri Lanka were beaten by eight wickets in the sole Twenty20.

Buttler, promoted to open, was joined by Eoin Morgan (47 not out) to get the hosts to a target of 141 in 17.3 overs.

Sri Lanka earlier slipped from 51-1 to 140 all out in Southampton.

Left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, on debut on his home ground, took 3-27, Chris Jordan 3-29, and England's electric fielding scored two run-outs.

For Sri Lanka, the defeat completes a miserable tour where they have failed to beat England in any of the nine international matches - the home side have won the inaugural 'Super Series' 20-4.

England, in their first T20 match since the agonising defeat in the World Twenty20 final in April, have now won 10 of their past 15 matches in the shortest form.

Buttler bosses the chase

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler's last nine T20 international scores are 32*, 54, 30, 21, 6, 66*, 32*, 36 and 73*

Wicketkeeper Buttler is "in contention"external-link for a return to the England Test side for the series against Pakistan, according to coach Trevor Bayliss.

Here, in England's final game before the squad for that is named on Thursday, the right-hander made the most of his opportunity at the top of the order in place of the injured Alex Hales to make his highest T20 international score.

Reprieved on five when he looked to have edged Angelo Mathews behind, Buttler rarely seemed to be in his most devastating top gear, but still controlled the chase with the minimum of fuss.

He mixed orthodox strokes through the off side with four sixes - three straight and one heave over mid-wicket - to complete a remarkable run that has seen him pass 20 in all but one of his past nine T20 international innings.

Buttler shared an unbroken stand of 114 with Morgan, the captain batting despite dislocating a finger while taking a catch.

Morgan was dropped twice, on eight by Mathews and 19 by the flying Dasun Shanaka, before finishing the game with his second maximum over mid-wicket.

England impress with the ball

Liam Dawson
Liam Dawson was making his international debut after being an unused member of England's World T20 squad

By adding the rapid Tymal Mills to Liam Plunkett and Jordan, England fielded a fiery pace trio, but one that Sri Lanka were still able to take for 51 runs in the first six overs.

It was when Dawson and leg-spinner Adil Rashid began to operate on a two-paced surface that England began to exert control.

Giving the ball air, Dawson had Danushka Gunathilaka caught at long-off, Kusal Mendis offer a return catch and then bowled Mathews when the captain played an ugly swipe.

With Sri Lanka running poorly, Shanaka went to Jason Roy's bullet throw from long-off and the dawdling Ramith Rambukwella fell in similar fashion to James Vince's direct hit from point. England could have already had Gunathilaka run-out had they appealed when Morgan hit direct.

When the pacers returned Jordan, who went for 20 in his second over, bowled a full length to mop up the tail and finish with figures of 3-29.

Mills ended wicketless, but impressed with thunderbolts in excess of 90mph mixed with cleverly disguised slower deliveries.

The stats you need to know

  • Liam Dawson is the fifth England bowler to take three wickets on T20 international debut after Mark Wood, David Willey, Jon Lewis and Darren Gough
  • This is the first time Jos Buttler has hit four sixes in a T20 international
  • Of Sri Lanka's seven bowlers, Angelo Mathews is the only one to have taken a T20 wicket in the past two years
  • In his 18th match, Adil Rashid bowled his first maiden in Twenty20 internationals

'Everything has got better' - what they said

England captain Eoin Morgan: "Apart from the first game in the one-day series, everything has got better game on game.

"Tonight our fielding peaked - we were hitting the stumps for fun. We've spoken about fielding - it's the one thing in cricket you can control. We have athletes in the field and we must use those as much as we can."

Man of the match Jos Buttler: "I've had a taste of Test cricket. Everyone wants to be a part of that. But I'm just playing every game as it comes. I just want to keep scoring runs."

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews: "We showed fight in bits and pieces. We were not consistent enough. That is something we need to work on. There are positives. Unfortunately, we didn't have the bowling to put pressure on."

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