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The monsoon rains, once again interrupted as it delayed the start of play by more than five and half hours. England bowlers led by leg-spinner Adil Rashid and seamer Tom Curran managed to restrict Sri Lanka to 150/9 after a blistering start by the Lankan openers.

But, the Englishmen made short work of the chase, reaching the target with 15 balls to spare with skipper Eoin Morgan leading the way with a fine, unbeaten 58* along with Ben Stokes’ 24-ball 35* as they cruised to victory, constructing an unbroken 73-run stand for the 4th wicket.

Earlier, after being asked to bat first, Sri Lanka’s newest opening pair, Niroshan Dickwella and Sadeera Samarawickrama got their team off to a flyer.

Dickwella was in fine form, bisecting the off-side field at will, especially against the pace of Olly Stone and Chris Woakes to collect eight boundaries.

Dickwella and Samarawickrama raced to 57 in less than six over before Curran, who came in place of injured Liam Dawson got the former out for a 20-ball 36, as Dickwella played one too many shots.

Kusal Mendis who replaced injured Kusal Perera in the team, was bowled by a Rashid ‘googly’ in the very first ball, his third consecutive duck in ODIs as England clawed their way back into the game.

Samarawickrama and skipper Dinesh Chandimal added 35 runs, almost run-a-ball to resurrect the innings but Rashid derailed the Lankans by taking two wickets in two balls.

Samarawickrama, playing only his fourth ODI, first in home conditions miscued a full-toss to square leg and Thisara Perera, promoted up the order to up the scoring rate, skied one to deep long-on, where Jason Roy took a decent catch as the home team was restricted to 94 for 4.

Dhananjaya De Silva never found any rhythm during his 10-ball 3 before holing out to mid-on off Curran’s slower ball as England dominated the second powerplay (5-17 overs) to bring down the scoring rate.

Whilst Chandimal held his end, scoring 34 off 42 deliveries at a snail pace, Dasun Shanaka gave something to cheer for the home fans. 

Shanaka became Rashid’s fourth victim, after a quick-fire 10-ball 21 as England ended their bowling performance excellently.

The visitors too got off to a blitzkrieg start as Lasith Malinga, who took five wickets in the last match leaked 17 runs in the very next over. The introduction of spin in the next over saw Jonny Bairstow struck Amila Aponso straight to the hands of Thisara Perera at mid-off.

Aponso was by far the most successful bowler for Sri Lanka as he cleaned up Joe Root with a slider in his second over to have England two down for 34.

Meanwhile, Roy seized up good batting conditions to reduce the required rate to below six, smashing a 26-ball 41 before being adjudged LBW through DRS. He was initially given not out, after missing a sweep off Akila Dananjaya but the replays showed three ‘Reds’.

After being 80 for 3, Morgan and Ben Stokes – two left-handers timed the ball exquisitely, found enough gaps to keep the required rate less than six runs per over and canter home as the Lankan bowlers did not have enough runs to defend. 

The fourth ODI match, which will be a day game will be played on 20th October Saturday at the same venue.

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