Sri Lanka soar to success
Stuart Broad’s captaincy debut ended on a sour note as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara inspired Sri Lanka to a nine-wicket victory over England in the one-off NatWest International Twenty20 at Bristol.
The duo put on an unbroken stand of 97 for the second wicket as the tourists warmed up for the forthcoming five-match NatWest Series by strolling to their target of 137 in 17.2 overs.
Jayawardene struck eight fours and a six in an innings of 72 not out from 57 balls that belied the belief it is necessary to go hard at the ball in the shortest format. He was ably supported by Sangakkara, who struck five fours in his unbeaten 43.
England were given a crumb of hope when veteran all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya holed out to Kevin Pietersen at mid-off to provide Jade Dernbach with a wicket on his senior international debut, but they were ultimately left to bemoan their performance with the bat.
Eoin Morgan and Pietersen were the stand-out performers but there was little to cheer after the pair had departed as England posted a below-par total of 136 for nine.
Openers Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter were dismissed early on but Pietersen and Morgan put on an 83-run partnership for the third wicket to help steady the ship, with the former striking four fours and three sixes in his 47.
The pair took 24, including three sixes, off Thisara Perera in the 11th over and England looked on course for an imposing total before Morgan and Pietersen fell in successive overs.
Broad's men failed to recover and their scoring-rate slowed considerably after Pietersen was dismissed for 41 in the 13th over; indeed the hosts found the boundary rope on just one more occasion.
Wickets continued to fall as England tried to up the scoring rate, with Jayasuriya, Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal each claiming two scalps.
Broad had shaken off heel and ankle complaints to lead the line for the first time and his side were put into bat after fellow debutant captain Thilina Kandamby won the toss.
Lumb and Kieswetter returned at the top of the England order after combining so well in the ICC World Twenty20 last year, but they both struggled to get to grips with an easy-paced pitch offering plenty of seam movement for the bowlers.
Lumb lofted Lakmal high in the air to Malinga running in from mid-on, whilst Kieswetter departed for four after an attempted pull off Nuwan Kulasekara found the hands of Kandamby at mid-off.
Morgan made light of his team-mate’s struggles by hammering a six down the ground off just his second delivery and followed that up with four off the next ball.
He and Pietersen looked in fine touch, although Morgan was dropped by Mathews at wide mid-on following a full toss from Lakmal.
The drop looked likely to prove particularly costly as Morgan blasted two successive sixes off full tosses from Perera in the 11th over, whilst Pietersen added another to help England to 91 for two.
The hosts were threatening to run riot but the momentum soon shifted as three wickets fell in as many overs.
Morgan was the first to go, three runs short of a half-century, when he was caught by Mahela Jayawardene at deep square-leg off Malinga.
Pietersen, who had looked completely untroubled in his chanceless knock of 41, was bowled trying to usher Sanath Jayasuriya to third man, whilst Samit Patel - in his first appearance for England since 2008 - was run out for a third-ball duck by Jayawardene at backward point to leave England 102 for five.
A lean period followed as Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright tried to halt the flow of wickets. When the former looked to force the initiative in the 18th over, he was bowled by Jayasuriya trying to hit through cover and England duly subsided.
After being largely outclassed in the three-match npower Test series, the tourists got off a to a flier with the bat, thanks to the stroke-making ability of Jayawardene.
He nonchalantly struck Chris Woakes down the ground in the first over although fellow new-ball seamer Dernbach was perhaps a tad unfortunate to see an edge fly over the slips.
Two fours and a straight six off Woakes’ next over from the right-hander saw Sri Lanka take a stranglehold before Dernbach picked up his first international wicket with Jayasuriya driving straight to Pietersen.
Any hopes of inducing a collapse quickly disappeared as the experienced Jayawardene and Sangakkara continued to add runs at a serene pace.
The former brought up his fifth international Twenty20 fifty off just 40 balls and at the end of the 11th over, Sri Lanka needed just 54 for victory.
Sangakkara chipped Graeme Swann into the deep for another four and although Broad was temporarily able to stem the flow of boundaries after that, Jayawardene and Sangakkara were happy to pick the gaps for singles.
Sangakkara, who resumed wicketkeeping duties in this match in the absence of Prasanna Jayawardene, powerfully pulled Swann for four when the off-spinner returned to the attack and the end was in sight when Broad brought himself on in the 18th over with just six more required.
It was fitting that man-of-the-match Jayawardene claimed the winning runs, courtesy of an inside edge for four, as Sri Lanka handed England the first defeat of their summer.