Sri Lanka ran away to a crushing victory in the fifth and final, meaningless ODI against England at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday. England had earlier already won the series by taking a 3-0 lead and opted to rest captain Eoin Morgan from the game.
When rain stopped play for the fifth time in as many games this series, England had slumped to 132 for nine chasing a stunning 366 off the bats of Sri Lanka. They were 219 runs adrift of the target at that stage by the Duckworth-Lewis calculation.
They were never in the chase after losing both their openers, hard-hitting Jason Roy and Alex Hales. And while Ben Stokes threw his bat around for a quixkfire half century, Akila Dananjaya grabbed a four-wicket haul of his own to spin his side to a facile win.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s score of 366 became the third-highest for any team to not have a century by any batsman. The top four, consisting of Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis scored punishing half-centuries to allow the hosts to compile that score.
Dickwella was unorthodox in his approach even after the first Powerplay ended, while Samarawickrama managed to continue batting with finesse right throughout his innings. Chandimal was slow off the blocks but compensated with a late flair but it was Mendis who overcame personal adversity to hammer a 33-ball 56 that might have turned the tide in his favour.
Mendis has been known to be a very talented cricketer but coming into this game, his scores in recent ODI cricket made for appalling reading. A mere five runs from four innings including three ducks might have stung the best into bouts of self-doubts but Mendis batted like a man without anything to lose.
He slammed six sixes in his 33-ball essay and while he failed to push on to make it count for a lot more, Mendis had laid enough of a foundation for the likes of Chandimal and the lower-order to propel Sri Lanka to that score.