After a bright start by England's Tammy Beaumont and Georgia Hennessy which took them to 19/0 after just two overs, England bumbled along losing wickets at regular intervals. Hennessy (4) was bowled heaving across the line to an old England favorite Eshani Kaushalya and in the same over she claimed Fran Wilson for a third ball duck as she mistimed a pull, giving the bowler an easy return catch. Beaumont and Helen Shipman looked reasonably at home against the Sri Lankan pace attack, but when slow bowlers Ranaweera and Fernando and then Ranasinghe were introduced to the attack, the run rate stalled. 39/2 after seven overs became 54/4 after 11 overs as first Shipman (9) and then Sophie Luff (4) were stumped off left-armer Ranaweera. Beaumont and new partner Sonia Odedra could only manage singles until the 15th over when Odedra finally broke the shackles with a pull for four off a rare short ball from Ranasinghe. But still England were only going at five an over as they reached 75/4 at the end of the 15th. Beaumont reached her 50 (52 off 50 balls) in the 18th over crashing the returning right arm seam of De Silva for four through extra cover. It had not been a fault-free innings having been dropped twice, but it was a resolute knock by the skipper. Unfortunately she perished next ball trying to sweep De Silva's next ball and being bowled. Young Hollie Armitage (1) took one for the team holing out to long off and so England approached the final over on 101/6 with new bat the tall left hander Alex McDonald on strike and seamer Weerakkody with ball in hand. After a first ball sighter McDonald hit her for 6,4, wide, 4, 2 and 6 to end on 22 not out off six balls and move the England score to a more respectable 124/6. Odedra (16* off 27 balls) watched on from the non-strikers end.
|Tammy Beaumont congratulates Alex McDonald |
on her 22 off just 6 balls
All looked well as Jodie Dibble opened with a maiden to a watchful Attapatu, but her opening partner Mendis was in no mood to hang around as she laid into the England bowlers, driving McDonald for six and hitting three consecutive fours off Freya Davies with drives through extra cover and a back cut, before edging the next ball off the stumps through the vacant slip area for another four. Sometimes fortune favours the brave. After five overs the Sri Lankans were well ahead of the rate on 43/0 and Mendis continued the charge hitting another six over long-on off Hennessy and bringing up her 50 in just the ninth over off 35 balls. Sri Lanka cruised to 74/0 after 10 overs, but finally Steph Butler got the breakthrough England so desperately needed as Mendis (58) swung the off-spinner high to cow-corner where Fran Wilson took a magnificent two-handed catch high above her left shoulder. In the next over Attapatu (14), who had looked out of touch, finally fell missing an expansive drive off Hennessy and England may have thought they were in with a sniff with Sri Lanka at 82/2 with just over eight overs to go. But it was not to be as catches went down and run out opportunities were missed. Hasini Perera (23) kept her head as others perished around her swinging from the hip when there was no need to do so. England were finally put out of their misery by a sweetly struck extra cover drive by the veteran Sripali Weerakkody (4*) off the second ball of the 18th over which took Sri Lanka to a five wicket win and level the series 1-1.
England will need to be more positive with the bat when the two sides meet again on Friday for two more T20 games to end the T20 series at the imposing Pramadasa Stadium. They will also hope there is more in the wicket for their seamers and that Mendis does not have another one of those days.
scorecard - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/710579.html