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England women stroll in Colombo

Charlotte Edwards

Charlotte Edwards hit 48 from 50 balls - having earlier taken 3-21 - as England eased to a routine victory over Sri Lanka

Charlotte Edwards shone with bat and ball as England women took an early lead in the three-match Twenty20 series with Sri Lanka following a comfortable eight-wicket win.

The England skipper, who on Wednesday became the most capped women's cricketer in history, followed up figures of 3-21 by scoring an unbeaten 48 to help her side overhaul Sri Lanka's 95 for eight with 26 balls remaining.

Hosts Sri Lanka won the toss, elected to bat first and made a steady start as openers Chamari Atapattu and Inoka Galagedara reached 24 without loss.

However, the innings changed in a sensational sixth over where three wickets fell in just four deliveries.

Mirroring the one-dayers, ever-improving off-spinner Danielle Hazell came on and dismantled the Sri Lankan innings, first dismissing Atapattu courtesy of a stumping from Claire Taylor before tempting Galagedara to hit straight to Gunn two balls later.

England completed the triple strike next ball when Taylor ran out Chamari Polgampola to leave Sri Lanka in dire trouble at 25 for three.

Eshani Kaushalya and captain Shashikala Siriwardene had the rather uneviable task of repairing the damage and the duo responded with a stubborn 35-run partnership - the highest of the innings.

But the mini-revival did not last long as England took three wickets in 11 balls, sparked by Edwards dismissing Kaushalya courtesy of a catch by Lydia Greenway.

The miserly Laura Marsh bowled Dilani Manodara two balls later and it was soon 64 for six when Edwards breached Chamani Seneviratna's defence.

Edwards took her third wicket in the following over before Jenny Gunn got in the act with Hazell taking a catch as Sri Lanka failed to reach three figures.

Danielle Hazell

Danielle Hazell continued her impressive form with two quick wickets to leave Sri Lanka reeling in the sixth over

England's new-look opening pair of Edwards and Marsh set about the victory target with gusto and their 73-run stand from just 59 balls ultimately sealed a comfortable win.

Marsh was the first to perish, stumped for an entertaining 29, and she was soon followed by Taylor who made just six.

But the double loss did nothing to deter England as they marched to victory.