Jos Buttler saw England to a comfortable eight-wicket win in the first Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka at Sophia Gardens on Wednesday as the hosts went 1-0 up in a three-match series. Sri Lanka were restricted to a modest 129-7 after winning the toss, with leg-spinner Adil Rashid taking 2-17 from his four overs and Sam Curran 2-25 from three overs. Chris Woakes, playing his first international T20 since 2015, went wicketless in an economical return of 0-14 in three overs. Rashid, however, did not concede a boundary while enticing Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga to hole out to Chris Jordan at long-on.
Only Dasun Shanaka with 50 off 44 balls really threatened England’s attack.
But a target of 130 proved well within the range of England, the world’s top-ranked T20 side, as they won with 17 balls to spare.
Buttler thrashed eight fours and one six in his innings and shared an opening stand of 80 with Jason Roy.
“The thing about batting in partnerships is it allows you to try and sit in and keep Roy back on strike,” said player of the match Buttler, whose innings was labelled a “masterclass” by England captain Eoin Morgan
“I think it was a fantastic performance from the boys, early wickets in the power play always keep you in the game,” added Buttler after his ninth half-century in just 20 T20 innings opening for England.
Morgan, speaking to BBC Radio, was pleased by an all-round display that augurs well for England’s prospects in October’s T20 World Cup.
“It’s a great way to start a series that’s so condensed,” he said.
“The bowlers really did set the tone, so full credit to them. Chris Woakes has come and performed extremely well. Liam Livingstone has done a really good job and taken his opportunity.
“In the chase, Roy and Buttler at the top of the order are a quite formidable pair, and when they play in the fashion that they can be quite intimidating.”
Sri Lanka captain Kusal Perera added: “Our batting department was not up to the mark — 130 was not good enough against the number one side in the world.
“Our bowlers gave us a little bit of hope. There are a lot of youngsters in our team but that is no an excuse. We have to adapt to conditions.”
The series continues with a second match at Sophia Gardens on Thursday.
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