MATCH REPORT : England v Sri Lanka

England edged a little further up the Women's World Cup standings with a very comfortable and professional victory over Sri Lanka at a sun-drenched Taunton, in front of the best crowd (around 3,500) of the tournament to date. Taunton really is the ideal setting for women's cricket.

It is the ambiance and the friendliness of the ground that make it work, which means the punters enjoy their day and they keep coming back. It helped, of course, that England were playing, and it helped even more that they are playing confident winning cricket.

After the game skipper Heather Knight said that she was initially slightly disappointed to have let Sri Lanka put 204/8 on the board, after they had won the toss and decided to bat. Through some disciplined bowling and some decent catching from Sarah Taylor and Fran Wilson, England had reduced Sri Lanka to 145/7, but 8th wicket pair Ranasinghe (26) and Kanchana (34*) frustrated England for another 10 overs and added another 45 runs to the score. It allowed Sri Lanka to pass 200, which would have annoyed England.

However, when Sarah Taylor drove the second ball of the 30th over to the long on boundary for 4, completing an England win by eight wickets, Knight realised that in fact the England bowling attack had done well to keep the plucky Sri Lankans to just over 200, on what was a great batting deck, despite being the fourth game played on it within the last 9 days.

England's discipline with the ball was not matched by their fielding however, with dropped catches from Hazell, Beaumont and Winfield, a missed run out from Marsh and some sloppy boundary fielding. Three of those drops came off Anya Shrubsole, who had every right to look dejected as she finished with figures of 0/50 and is yet to take a wicket in this tournament. England's wickets instead came from Laura Marsh (4/45), called back into the team to replace Alex Hartley due to the excess of lefthanders in the Sri Lankan team, and Nat Sciver (2/32), who picked up the vital wicket of Chamari Atapattu, effortlessly caught behind by Sarah Taylor standing up to Sciver's medium pace.

Sri Lanka would have been pleased with their batting effort with Perera (46) making a positive, if rather charmed start to their knock, and Siriwardene, Surangika, Ranasinghe and Kanchana all looking comfortable at the crease.

But when England batted the ease of the wicket and the pace of the outfield were fully demonstrated as Lauren Winfield (26) and Tammy Beuamont (12) peppered the boundary. Both fell when they should have gone on, but that meant the stage was cleared for Taylor (74*) and skipper Knight (82) to put on a batting masterclass. Anything short Taylor leapt on and dispatched; anything full Knight hit back over the bowler's head. Sri Lanka had no answers, and with the field set back the England batsmen milked the singles reaching their 50s in the 24th and 27th overs. From there on it was carnage as both let rip with an array of shots. The last 39 runs came off just 15 balls, which included Knight holing out to midwicket off Atapattu, two balls from the end, to bring their partnership of 148 to an close.

England moved up to fourth in the WWC17 Standings with the win, but it could well be their next game, against South Africa on Wednesday, which will decide if they are firmly established in the top four of this competition.

Comments

  1. The most interesting set of results over the next 2 rounds would be :-

    England beat both South Africa and Australia
    India beat Sri Lanka (95% certain) and then lose to South Africa
    Australia beat Pakistan (95% certain) and lose to England
    New Zealand beat both West Indies (95% certain) and Pakistan (95% certain)

    Why – because this would leave India, Aus and Eng on 8 pts and SA and NZ on 7 pts with matches in the next (6th) round of matches including Aus v Ind and Eng v NZ.

    This illustrates why South Africa stirring it up is so important – otherwise the 6th round just becomes an exercise in "big 4" self-interest.

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  2. Thoroughly enjoyable day out at what will almost certainly be the only WWC match I will be able to get to (more of which later).

    I was hoping England would be batting first after their exploits v Pakistan - give that we were 206-3 off 30.2 overs when the game was won, what might we have made off the full 50? Would 400 have been unthinkable...?

    Be that as it may...

    It's funny that the impression you can get from being at a match can be totally different from what others see. I thought England were very good in the field. Hazell's drop didn't register as such from where I was sitting, Winfield's late in the innings looked a very tough chance, and Beaumont clearly lost hers in the sun, which can happen to anyone. Eight years ago I was blown away by England's fielding on the same ground v the same opposition in the World T20. I though they came close to that yesterday.

    Three good catches from Wilson - the middle one the best, although I don't think it does the women's game any favours to describe it as "stupendous" as I saw in one report. It was genuinely very good, but not *that* good. The ball was heading right for where we were sitting and Wilson's technique was excellent, following the flight all the way into her hands. It was a good catch, and worth seeing a few times, but over-exaggerating can be counter-productive.

    Batting-wise England haven't chased as well as this in a good while, not withstanding that SL's bowling was *buffet" stuff much of the time. My impression from side-on was that Beaumont's LBW was going over (although TV since suggests that was perhaps wishful thinking), and I thought Winfield was perhaps just a bit TOO keen to stamp her mark on the game after missing the first too matches. A good cameo but she should have had the nous to book in for the hundred that was there for the taking once she was "in".

    Knight and Taylor were exceptional. Knight's cover drive was a think of beauty at the time, and only gets better every time I see it on the highlights. As for Taylor - I won't hide the fact that she's always been my favourite player in the England set-up. I love the way she plays the game with a smile, and clearly enjoys it (so we all thought). I hope this "second coming" brings her contentment in herself and in her game, because she has so much talent. After two low scores, it was like watching a flower bloom yesterday as all the shots came out and the smile returned.

    England on the up, then, but one can't help but wonder about the step up in coming games. SA, NZ and Australia will all pose stiffer tests, and to what extent can/should we take West Indies for granted? They surely have ONE half-decent performance in them?!

    Off the pitch, an excellent occasion, very well staged by Somerset. 25 of us travelled down from Worcestershire, including eight of the County u13 and u15 squad. Breakfast at the ground, good seats in a lively Somerset Stand, fabulous weather and a good game. The volunteers on duty were friendly and helpful and the atmosphere was just right. Some had travelled down the previous day and commented on how good the publicity was around the town too.

    The girls found a new favourite in "SuperFran" and managed to get a snap with her afterwards too. We may not get to another game in this tournament, but the intention now is to make at least one England game every summer. That's how tournaments like this work.

    It's easy to get drawn to the BTL sections of the papers' websites and shake your heads at the comments there, but yesterday proved to me that the game is rising above that. Personally, I've decided to find amusing the fact that a small number of people seem to have an instinctive objection to women "doing stuff" (unless it's cooking, cleaning, ironing, etc...) and to other people being interested in it.

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    1. The other thing I forgot to mention was the excellent FREE tournament programme. Very well pitched with bits aimed at the knowledgeable, the not so knowledgeable, and the complete newcomer. Would happily have paid a fiver for it. Well done, ICC (and Raf!)

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  3. I like those results from England's perspective Clanger... a win against SA is a must-have, and that will be difficult. I don't rate our chances against the Aussies though, unless they have a bad day at the office, which hardly ever seems to happen. Nevertheless it's a game not to be missed. Elsewhere, India v New Zealand and India v South Africa are going to be huge games coming up. Personally I'd be surprised if all 3 of those teams keep their good runs going all the way in the group stage, but it's possible I guess. More likely is one of them will lose at least 2 more games.

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    1. I know what you mean by ‘a win against SA is a must-have’ (although taken literally – and I repeat I know you don’t mean it literally – it isn’t a must-win).

      If it’s any consolation should England lose it then it’s that they could still qualify (without needing NRR) with just 6 points – albeit they would need some of the top teams, especially NZ to start losing to the likes of Pakistan and West Indies.

      They would need 8 pts to really give themselves a good chance of qualifying (although there would be a small number of combinations of results that would eliminate England even on 8pts), meaning they would have to beat one of Australia or NZ and then the West Indies.

      Only getting to 10 pts (ie beating Aus, NZ and WI) would they be guaranteed qualification.

      (The above assumes England/SA has completed and the other results from tomorrow are still unknown). By Thursday night we’ll know a heck of a lot more.

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