Rain does not spare even arid Dambulla | Daily News
1st ODI ends in no-result – only 15 overs bowled:

Rain does not spare even arid Dambulla

Sri Lankan bowler Nuwan Pradeep celebrates the wicket of England’s Jonny Bairstow for 25 in the first ODI played at Rangiri Dambulla Stadium yesterday. - AFP
Sri Lankan bowler Nuwan Pradeep celebrates the wicket of England’s Jonny Bairstow for 25 in the first ODI played at Rangiri Dambulla Stadium yesterday. - AFP

DAMBULLA, Wednesday: England’s chances of retaining top spot in the ICC One-Day International (ODI) rankings ran into a road block by way of the prevailing bad weather that is currently affecting the country when the first ODI of a five-match series against Sri Lanka ended in a no-result at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium yesterday.

England, the current no. 1 ranked ODI team will have to win the series to retain that position. Their failure to win to do so, will give India a sniff at the top spot when they take on the West Indies in the five-match ODI series from 21 October.

Currently England are on top with 127 points with India second on 122 points.

There was bright weather at the start of the match and everyone was hopeful that it would remain that way throughout the day. But by around 3.42 pm at the end of 15 overs the dark clouds closed in and with it came the rains that later turned into a steady drizzle that continued throughout the night forcing the match officials to abandon the match with England 92 for two wickets after being invited to bat first.

The rain ceased by around 7.00 pm raising hopes of the match being resumed with a reduced number of overs, but following an inspection at 8.15 pm by the match officials a decision was reached in consultation with the two captains to abandon the match due to wet patches on the outfield.

Dambulla is renowned for having the least amount of rainfall, but the prevailing bad weather did not even spare such an arid area.

Sri Lanka having suffered seven straight losses at this venue since 2015 took up a defensive ploy by inviting England to bat first on what looked like a good batting track.

The manner in which the England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow went about hitting boundaries at ease off Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep clobbering seven fours and one six showed how easy paced the pitch was.

They put on a stand of 49 in eight overs before Bairstow (25) edged one from Pradeep to Niroshan Dickwella, back in the fray after being overlooked for the two Asia Cup matches.

Mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya was greeted by Bairstow with a six and a four in his first over but in his second over he got rid of Roy (24) who failed to get to the pitch of the ball and ended up hitting a catch to mid-off.

Sri Lanka had struck twice within the space of four balls, but Joe Root (25 n.o.) and skipper Eoin Morgan (18 n.o.) checked that mini slide and got England back on track once again with an unbroken partnership of 41 off 38 balls when the game was stopped.

It was this pair that figured in a 170-run stand that paved the way for England’s win in their first warm-up game against a Sri Lanka Board XI and here they were once again taking stock of the situation and gradually getting England into a position of ascendency with a stand of 41 in 38 balls when the heavens opened up and deprived the spectators of a batting treat.

Sri Lanka once again went with the side thin in the batting with only five specialist batsmen and two all-rounders, whereas they should have gone with a 7-4 combination that has served them well in the past.

The second ODI is scheduled at the same venue for Saturday which will be a day match with a reserve day thrown-in for good measure.


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