A powerful bowling performance from England, led by Linsey Smith, packed off Sri Lanka for 94 in the first women’s Twenty20 international, setting the visitors up for an eight-wicket victory in Colombo on Sunday, 24 March.
Smith picked up 3/18, including the last two Sri Lankan wickets to fall, as the hosts folded with an entire over to spare. Tammy Beaumont then struck an unbeaten 43-ball fifty to guide England home in just 14.2 overs.
Natalie Sciver set Sri Lanka up for the hard grind by giving away just two singles in the innings’ first over. Sri Lanka hit back with a brace of fours in the next over, and Anya Shrubsole followed it up with five wides in the third. But she went through Chamari Atapattu to break her stumps and give England the opening breakthrough next ball.
That opened the gates, as Sri Lanka began losing wickets at regular intervals thereafter. Five of the six bowlers England used chipped away at the Sri Lankan order, returning with at least a wicket each.
Only three Sri Lankan batsmen registered double figures. No. 5 Imalka Mendis was the first of them, making 14 off 15 balls before being caught and bowled off Sciver. The other two contributions came lower down the order, from Hansima Karunaratne (19) and Oshadi Ranasinghe (20*). The two shared an eighth-wicket partnership of 31, which pushed Sri Lanka towards 100. But after Karunaratne’s dismissal, they lost their last two wickets on the same score and still fell short of the mark.
England’s chase got off to a rousing start, with Danielle Wyatt launching the fourth ball of the innings, from Inoshi Priyadharshani, over the ropes. Tammy Beaumont took Achini Kulasuriya for two fours in the second over, before Wyatt hit Priyadharshani for a second six.
Atapattu then ended Wyatt’s burst by having her caught for 15, while Amy Jones’ stay was ended prematurely by a run out. Sciver briskly turned the strike over in a nine-ball 11* that contained no boundaries, and in the company of Beaumont, took England towards the finish.
Beaumont got her fifty with a single off Siriwardene in the second ball of the 15th over. That also turned out to be the winning run.