5th over: England 51-0 (Roy 27, Buttler 20) The fifty fizzes up in 4.4 overs. Sri Lanka plump for off-spinner Akila Dananjaya and Roy sweeps him through square leg to the boundary.
4th over: England 44-0 (Roy 20, Buttler 18) I reckon England want to win this in 15. Roy hammers a six and a four over midwicket. Poor Pradeep then bowls a couple of wides.
“‘Kicking toes to backside as he runs in.’ Without the benefit of a telly, why am I struggling so much to visualise how he’d do that? :)“ asks Damian Clarke. Ah, good point, if we replace toes with heels does that work?
3rd over: England 27-0 (Roy 10, Buttler 16) Jos, it’s good to have you back! Statuesque, he drives Chameera over extra-cover to the rope. He misses his scoop next ball, just to prove he’s human. Chameera then drifts wide and is dispatched through backward point for another. Roy polishes another through mid-wicket andthat’s 13 from the over.
2nd over: England 14-0 (Roy 7, Buttler 6) Buttler plays and misses at Pradeep, who has a dangling silver chain round his neck. Butler introduces some early unorthodoxy with a scoop – but it only brings one. Roy pingos a ball on the pads for a one-legged flick for four.
1st over: England 7-0 (Roy 1, Buttler 4) Chameera, kicking toes to backside as he runs in, beats Roy with two consecutive balls. A frisky thick edge to third man brings a run, then a velvety cover-drive by Buttler oozes four.
Impressive and clinical from England. Usual Morgan magic with the bowling changes. Sri Lanka showed their rustiness, though there was some plucky batting from Shanaka and Perera. Time for a quick cup of tea.
20th over: Sri Lanka 129-7 (Udana 6) Loving Morgan looking so intense as he talks to Sam Curran about the last over in a game that England are cruising. Shanaka tries to ramp the first but misses, swings at the second and picks up two, does much better third ball, which is short, and flies over backward square for six. The fourth, a slower ball, flies into the Cardiff clouds but lands short of the fielder for two. A full toss brings two more and Shanaka’s fifty – his second IT20 fifty: well played! – before holing out at the end.
Shanaka has a last-ball mow and top-edge pings the ball skywards, it falls into the calm gloves of Buttler.
19th over: Sri Lanka 117-6 (Shanaka 38; Udana 6) The camera pans onto Morgan, who we see making miniscule hand movements. The Morgan magic temporarily malfunctions as Shanaka flicks Jordan over to the leg side where it slides past Woakes over the rope. Ooof! The next is lofted for a up-yours! six and they pass the magic run a ball.
18th over: Sri Lanka 104-6 (Shanaka 26; Udana 5) Rashid has his short sleeved jumper on as he wheels into his last over. Sri Lanka can only pick flecks of paint off him: four from the over and another winning T20 spell with the white ball.
17th over: Sri Lanka 100-6 (Shanaka 24; Udana 3) It’s not good news for Sri Lanka as Jordan, the expert finisher, sleeve on his right arm, comes back for the death. Sri Lanka squeeze three from the over: a reminder that they haven’t played a T20 for over a year.
16th over: Sri Lanka 97-6 (Shanaka 23; Udana 1) Superb from Rashid – it was the googly that did it for Hasaranga. Rashid: 3-0-13-2.
Hasaranga sashays down the pitch looking for a six and it finds that man Jordan again, this time at long-on.
14th over: Sri Lanka 94-5 (Shanaka 22; Hasaranga 4) Did I say Hasaranga? In fact its Shanaka who tucks into the first two balls of Wood’s over which are rather short and fat. He shovels them both through backward point to the boundary. Wood pulls in back with the last four balls.
“ The contrast between Morgan’s captaincy and Root’s is striking,” writes James Taylor. “Know it’s a different game but Morgan adapts to what’s happening in front of him.”
I think that Morgan was born for the job, whereas Root has been lumbered with it by being the best player. I do think Root is a good man manager though.
14th over: Sri Lanka 84-5 (Shanaka 13; Hasaranga 3) Sri Lanka now in big trouble unless Hasaranga has something up his sleeve.
Oh dear. Perera has a go at a googly but manages only to pick out Jordan at mid-off. And Sri Lanka lose their most fluent batter.
13th over: Sri Lanka 79-4 (Shanaka 9; Perera 30) Woakes teases Shanaka, who tries to get a hand to him like a kitten with a cotton reel. Shanaka at last gets a bat on the last ball and pulls Woakes into the deep where Roy charges for the ball, but it falls just short. Nice bit of fielding in the end.
12th over: Sri Lanka 74-4 (Shanaka 7; Perera 29) New batsman? Morgan beckons for Rashid, whose beard seems a little more closely trimmed than usual. No marquee ball this over and Perera and Rashid pick him off for five.
11th over: Sri Lanka 69-4 (Shanaka 4; Perera 27) Perera has a go, flipping his bat to top edge Wood for six. Wood looks faintly amused, but is parsimonious for the rest of the over.
“With the test batting line up floundering, could this series offer a shop window for Livingstone into the test side as a counter attacking middle order swashbuckler who can bowl a bit of spin?” asks Tom V D Gucht.
I feel like he’s a way off at the moment: in five CC matches this year for Lancashire he’s only averaging ten. But if he could find some red-ball consistency… I’d pick Moeen Ali over him though.
10th over: Sri Lanka 56-4 (Shanaka 2; Perera 18) Sri Lanka winkle out some singles but can’t find the wherewithal to force Livingstone to the boundary. Five from the over.
9th over: Sri Lanka 52-4 (Shanaka 0; Perera 16) Wood: 90, 90, 91 92, 92, 93. Sri Lanka do well to survive the over losing just the one wicket. Shanaka, bewildered, is beaten for pace by his first three balls. Bow down to Eoin Morgan’s bowling changes.
de Silva attempts an upper cut off his fourth ball but lathers it to Rashid down at third man.
8th over: Sri Lanka 50-3 (de Silva 1; Perera 16) Liam Livingstone, with a fresh haircut, does the business in his very first over with one that hits Mendis low as he bends for the sweep. An optimistic review.
The third ump looks, and looks again, for evidence of bat or glove, but there isn’t any. The ball would have clopped middle stump, Perera must go.
7th over: Sri Lanka 45-2 (K Mendis 6; Perera 16) England’s red kit has got son approval. It has red sleeves, with a red-blue grid-like pattern on the torso. Perera and Mendis pick six off Jordan’s over.
The view from Southampton. What brilliant and deserved champions! I’m so happy for them, and especially for Taylor on his last tour of England.
6th over: Sri Lanka 39-2 (K Mendis 2; Perera 14) Curran’s back, and spears one past Mendis’ outside edge. Mendis pulls a single, but in the last over of the power play Sri Lanka can’t burst the boundary.
5th over: Sri Lanka 33-2 (K Mendis 1; Perera10) Gunathilaka nudges Chris Jordan past third man, for his third consecutive four, and, suitably boosted, tries his scoop again. He’s busted.
“I know it’s only 4 overs per bowler, but do England have any of the batsmen who could bowl a few if someone gets injured in the field?” asks John Starbuck. “Morgan doesn’t have Root, who might have bowled a couple and done well; is Livingstone a part-timer?”
I’m not going to tell Lancashire fans you asked that.
Gunathilaka tries his scoop again but, alas, gets a top edge which flies high and plops into Buttler’s gloves.
4th over: Sri Lanka 26-1 (Gunathilaka 15; Perera 8) Wood’s first two balls clock up 91mph -but they’re just a sweetener – the next is 94mph. Perera hoiks the fourth and picks up a single, then Gunathilaka drives straight down the ground for four, the next goes more loftily for another. A tasty over for Sri Lanka.
3rd over: Sri Lanka 16-1 (Gunathilaka 6; Perera 7) Gunathilaka has another whoop at the scoop, but misses. Sri Lanka are frisky between the wickets, risking England arms, which you can’t help think will end in disaster sooner or later. An lbw appeal, ignored, then a cross-batted hoop by Perera, past a diving Sam Curran, to the boundary. Curran apologises to Woakes, who looks dashingly anguished.
2nd over: Sri Lanka 9-1 (Gunathilaka 5; Perera 1) Sam Curran, still as boyish as ever, skitters in and gathers Fernando, looking to spread his wings. Curran then bowls one, two wides, we think it could be the wind. Gunathilaka, feeling frisky, then attempts a reverse sweep, which falls flat.
New Zealand have won the World Test Championship by eight wickets! Bravo!
Avishka lauches into Curran but only drives him straight to mid-off where Jordan gathers in a competent crouch.
1st over: Sri Lanka 2-0 (Gunathilaka 1; Avishka 0) Chris Woakes takes the new white ball, in his first T20 since 2015. The clock counts down and the sparse crowd whoop, gently. Gunathilaka tries to break through by lashing Woakes through cover but it is gathered up with a whistle by the fielder. A rusty wide, Gunathilaka picks up a single, and that’s the first over
The players are out! Damn, the graphic disappeared before I could fully note the figures down: Sky had a list of the number of players each team have used since the last T20 World Cup. Sri Lanka have used 47 players in 53 matches.
A missive from Abhijato Sensarma, who has been watching the WTC where New Zealand currently need 14 to win.
Hi Tanya, hope you’re doing well! (The WTC Final loss is bearing down on me at eleven in the night, of course.)
Morgan’s lost a bit of respect in my eyes with the way he’s managed the entire Sir-gate. It’s pretty clear he’s mocking the way many Indians speak the English language in his historical tweets. I don’t understand how someone can be so tone-deaf on social media. And then to go on and deny any wrongdoing, it shows that he has enough influence in the system to avoid any punishment.
In my eyes, he’s lost any moral high ground to Alex Hales. You might say it’s irrelevant to the cricket, but by that logic, so are Hales’ misdemeanours.
Morgan certainly hasn’t satisfied everyone.
A nice piece on Perera’s aims for this series: to play “fearless cricket” and a quick summary of the state of Sri Lankan cricket: inexperienced but enthusiastic.
Nasser and Ian Ward are in bomber jackets, it doesn’t look too warm in Cardiff, but Kumar Sangakkara is in shirt sleeves. Immaculately turned up. They’re discussing Buttler’s best batting position and decide on opener.
So no Moeen Ali or David Willey today, but Morgan did say that he was going to experiment this series – so expect some chopping and changing during the six games.
England: Roy, Buttler, Malan, Bairstow, Morgan, Livingstone, Sam Curran, Jordan, Woakes, Rashid, Wood.
Sri Lanka: Perera, Gunathilaka, Avishka, K Mendis, de Silva, Shanaka, Hasaranga, Udana, Danajaya, Chameera, Pradeep.
Eoin Morgan says he’d have bowled first so both teams are happy.
It was the best ranked side; it was the eighth ranked side. And they gathered at Cardiff to play a T20 game while the World Test Championship was coming to a head.
It seems odd to be drawing eyes over from Southampton, but here we are: England and Sri Lanka kicking off two back-to-back matches, continuing into a six game series of three T20s and three ODIs.
England bring back Chris Woakes, much travelled but barely played, and the perennially unlucky David Willey, but are without the injured Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes. Sri Lanka, under the newish leadership of Kusul Perera, who has a terrible record against England, have everything to play for. Their cupboard is not brilliantly stocked, but sweetened by the return of Avishka Fernando.
Also huge kudos to the awesome Sue Redfern, who becomes the first woman to officiate in an England men’s home international. She’s fourth umpire tonight.