England unleash Twenty20 thrashing on Sri Lanka and leave skipper Eoin Morgan with permanent smile

Ross McLean
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England v Sri Lanka - 1st NatWest T20 International
Buttler notched his highest T20 international score against Sri Lanka (Source: Getty)

England skipper Eoin Morgan admitted that he cannot stop smiling after his side once again flexed their white-ball muscle by thrashing Sri Lanka by eight wickets in their Twenty20 International in Southampton.

In their first match in this format since an agonising defeat to the West Indies in the World T20 final in April, England bowled out Sri Lanka for 140 as debutant Liam Dawson and all-rounder Chris Jordan claimed three wickets apiece.

The hosts cantered home with 15 deliveries to spare as Jos Buttler, promoted to opener in the absence of the rested Alex Hales, finished unbeaten on 73, while Morgan struck 47 not out.

Victory meant England won the inaugural Super Series, which incorporates results in all three formats of the game, 20-4, and completed a miserable tour for Sri Lanka who failed to win any of the nine international matches.

“Things are very exciting at the moment and playing cricket for England is awesome,” said Morgan.

“Playing an aggressive brand of cricket, which everybody loves to play, puts a smile on your face. It’s brilliant going out and taking things on, taking things by the scruff of the neck and taking things to the opposition, it’s very exciting.”

Morgan was also quick to praise England’s debutants. Left-arm spinner Dawson finished with figures of 3-27 on his home ground, while Sussex quick Tymal Mills was the most economical of England’s bowlers, conceding just 22 runs from his four overs, albeit wicketless.

“I thought Liam Dawson was fantastic and very calm on his own patch, and Tymal Mills came in and showed exactly what he can do,” added Morgan. “There are nerves around on debuts but there were none today, which is great.”

Sri Lanka were 51-1 at the end of the power play, although England began to exert greater control when Dawson and Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who returned figures of 0-25 from his four-over allocation, were thrown into the attack.

England’s cause was also aided by impressive fielding as Jason Roy and James Vince both effected run outs with direct throws from long-off and point respectively.

Jordan returned at the death and picked up three late scalps, including Nuwan Pradeep with the final ball of the innings. But despite England losing opener Roy third ball, Sri Lanka’s score of 140 appeared on the low side.

England head coach Trevor Bayliss has hinted that Buttler is in contention for a Test recall for the Pakistan series, which starts next week, and the Lancashire wicketkeeper assumed centre stage by notching his highest ever T20 International score.

Hampshire captain Vince departed for 16, which left Buttler and Morgan, who were both given reprieves by dropped Sri Lanka catches, to share a stand of 114 and guide England home.