Jaffna Stallions 185 for 8 (Perera 68, de Silva 61) beat Kandy Tuskers 131 (Shinwari 3-17) by 54 runs
How the match played out
Jaffna Stallions lost early wickets. Jaffna Stallions rallied through the middle and late overs, thanks largley to Thisara Perera. Then Jaffna Stallions’ bowlers locked the opposition out. The script for this match was largely the same as for the Stallions’ victory on Monday over Dambulla Viiking. With Colombo Kings having lost earlier in the day, Stallions are now the team to beat in the LPL – the only side that are yet to lose a game after three outings. They’ve not been pushed in any of their matches either. This win over Kandy Tuskers was by a whopping 54 runs.
Thanks to a good Powerplay spell from Munaf Patel, and some decent early overs from Dilruwan Perera and Asela Gunaratne, Tuskers had Stallions pinned early. Their total at the end of the fielding restrictions was 26 for 2 – the lowest in the tournament so far. They would go on to lose Tom Moores in the eighth over, and Shoaib Malik in the tenth, but at no point did they seem flustered. Dhananjaya de Silva kept the frequent fall of wickets from turning into a full-blown collapse by batting cautiously, making only 15 from his first 20 deliveries before gradually raising the tempo to finish on 61 off 38.
Tuskers slumped to 131 all out in the 18th over in response, with Brendan Taylor (46 off 32) and Gunaratne (31 off 24) the only batsmen to make a serious run at the target.
Stars of the day
Perera was the the driving force behind the Stallions’ recovery once again, blasting 68 off 28 balls – an innings that included five sixes and as many fours, helping propel his team to 185 for 8 on a pitch that not many batsmen prospered on. As is often the case for Perera, the confidence from his batting flowed into his bowling, and he picked up 2 for 9 in 2.1 overs. He had also hit 95 not out in Monday’s match against Viiking.
Wanindu Hasaranga was excellent as usual with the ball, taking 2 for 17 from his four overs, his googly wreaking havoc yet again. Usman Shinwari was also outstanding with the ball, however, dismissing both the Tuskers’ dangerous openers – Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Kusal Perera – inside the Powerplay, on his way to figures of 3 for 17 off three overs.
For the Tuskers, Gunaratne was perhaps their best bowler, taking 2 for 20, though his full quota wasn’t used. Kusal Perera’s captaincy continues to be puzzling.
De Silva and Perera came together with the score on 49 for 4 in the tenth over, and propelled the Stallions towards their commanding score with perhaps the partnership of the tournament so far. They made 118 runs off 47 balls in each other’s company, and on this pitch, that’s a monumental momentum shift.
The big miss
Not a major miss, because it came towards the end of his innings, but Perera was dropped on 50 off the bowling of Nuwan Pradeep in the 17th over – Naveen-ul-Haq spilling the chance at deep midwicket. Perera would go on to hit two more sixes and a four before getting out.
Ishant Sharma gets stitches on bowling hand, but ‘expected to recover in time’ for England Tests
The fast bowler hurt himself while trying to stop a Ross Taylor drive on the last day of the WTC final
Sharma tried to stop a drive from Ross Taylor in what turned out to be the penultimate over of the final. He left the field with his hand bleeding, having bowled only two balls in his seventh over, with Jasprit Bumrah completing it.
“Ishant has had multiple stitches on his middle and fourth finger in his right hand. However, it is not very serious,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI. “The stitches will be off in around ten days and with six weeks left for the first Test against England, he is expected to recover in time.”
The Indian team is having a break of three weeks after the conclusion of the WTC final, which New Zealand won by eight wickets.
“The squad travelled together to London. From here they can all leave for their respective destinations within the UK for a 20-day break,” the official said.
However, once the team reassembles in London on July 14 and proceeds to Nottingham, they are unlikely to get warm-up first-class games against English county sides. They will instead play intra-squad games at the Riverside ground in Durham.
“Well, that doesn’t depend on us. We obviously wanted first-class games, which I believe have not been given to us,” Kohli had said. “I don’t know what the reasons for that are. But yeah, other than that I think our preparation time will be ample for us to be ready for the first Test.”
While it is understood that the BCCI had requested the ECB for a few practice games, the Covid-19 situation won’t allow any such plan to go ahead.
“Due to Covid-19 protocols, they will play two intra-squad four-day matches before the first Test in August,” an ECB spokesperson told PTI on Friday. Asked if there is any chance of a game against county sides, the spokesperson said, “No”.
In England, cricketers from various counties are regularly being tested for Covid-19 but are not being kept in any bubble. But the Indian team would again be in a bubble once they move to Durham.
“The domestic cricketers of England not being in a bubble is an issue for sure. That’s why the games in Durham will be intra-squad ones,” the BCCI official said.
India are currently travelling with 24 players – 20 in the official squad and four reserves – which would thus allow them to play intra-squad games.
Eng vs SL 2021 – Jos Buttler ruled out of Sri Lanka white-ball series with calf injury
Dawid Malan added to ODI squad after MRI scans reveal small calf tear
Buttler, England’s vice-captain and wicketkeeper, scored an unbeaten 68 opening the batting in the first T20I. According to the ECB, he “felt tightness and discomfort” at the end of the game and was sent for an MRI scan on Thursday morning, which revealed a small tear. He sat out the second T20I, which England won by five wickets.
England had already suggested they may use the Sri Lanka T20Is to experiment, with Jonny Bairstow moving up to open in Buttler’s absence – although he made a three-ball duck as England initially struggled in their chase of 112. Liam Livingstone, whose unbeaten 29 helped secure victory, regularly opens in T20 cricket and could also deputise.
Dawid Malan, the No. 1-ranked T20I batter, has been added to the ODI squad, with Bairstow and Sam Billings in contention to take the gloves in the 50-over format. Billings scored his maiden ODI hundred last summer and would have been vying for a middle-order berth, regardless of Buttler’s availability.
“In terms of ODIs I had a really good summer last year and averaged 83 in that format so I would be pretty disappointed if I didn’t get a gig but this team is a very hard one to get into to,” he said.
England have already secured the T20I series ahead Saturday’s third match, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. The teams will then play three ODIs, at Chester-le-Street, The Oval and Bristol.
ENG vs SL 2nd T20I – Mickey Arthur on England and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s head coach said he wants the batsmen to be more proactive against a world-class England attack
“Just not enough runs again,” Arthur told the BBC, when asked for his take on his side’s defeat. “We’re coming up against a really good bowling attack. They’re ranked No. 1 in the world, we’re ranked No. 9, and you can see the difference. We’ve started a journey with a young team and for us it’s about getting better, competing, learning from every game and every experience and getting better and better as we go along.
“It’s tough. We’re consistently talking about freedom, about taking the handbrake off as a batting unit. But you can only bat as well as you’re allowed to and I thought England were world-class with the lengths they hit. They put us under a lot of pressure with the bat.
“We can be more proactive and we’ve got to go back and work on that. We can walk around the crease a little bit more and try to do different things but our batters are learning all the time, particularly in these conditions. We’ve got a really exciting batting unit in our conditions but it’s about transferring those skills to conditions outside our own environment.”
“I thought we bowled really well,” he said. “Our fielding has gone up to another level. Fielding is all about attitude, it’s measurable, and I think the guys are getting better and better with that. We’re really excited with our bowling unit and we’ve got a couple of guys that are injured as well, so when we get them back we’ll be good.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
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