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  • England Women 3m

    England Women thrash Sri Lanka

    Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor impress with the bat as England win official World Cup warm-up game by eight wickets

    England Women continued their World Cup preparations with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

    Sri Lankan captain Inoka Ranaweera won the toss and chose to bat under a baking sun that was more Colombo than Chesterfield.

    Sri Lanka played all 15 of their squad in this official World Cup warm-up match while England rotated out Nat Sciver, Danni Hazell, Jenny Gunn and Beth Langston.

    Despite the conditions perhaps being to the liking of the visitors England started well with the ball and soon picked up two wickets in the opening 10 overs, pace bowlers Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt taking one apiece with Nipuni Hansika carving Shrubsole to Fran Wilson at point and Chamari Polgompola nicking behind.

    The introduction of Laura Marsh brought the third wicket as Perera picked out Danni Wyatt at deep square leg and Wilson affected her second dismissal of the day when she ran out Dilani Manodara.

    Chamari Athapaththu and Prasadani Weerakkody then combined to put together a 50 partnership as England rotated their bowlers. The breakthrough – and the fifth wicket – came via Alex Hartley who had Weerakkody caught at deep mid-wicket by Lauren Winfield.

    One became two as skipper Heather Knight had Athapaththu stumped and few Sri Lanka players were able to offer the same resistance as their fifth-wicket partnership. Eshani Lokusuriyage and Sripali Weerakkody fell in consecutive deliveries to Shrubsole and Brunt picked up her second with a well-disguised slower ball.

    Georgia Elwiss, who gave nothing away after coming on first change, wrapped things up with Wyatt taking another catch in the deep and Sri Lanka were dismissed for 155.

    Tammy Beaumont and Winfield, as they have tended to do over the last 12 months, started aggressively to put England on the front foot, particularly dismissive of loose deliveries from the Sri Lankan seamers.

    The introduction of spin gave Sri Lanka a touch more control and in turn a couple of wickets. Winfield was stumped on the drive for 35 and Beaumont followed, trapped in front, for 31.

    Those two wickets left England at 80 for two and saw Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight together. Both players were looking to spend time at the crease after a period away from the game but Sri Lanka’s spinners enjoyed an accurate spell to keep up the pressure.

    Taylor and Knight worked through it and put the pressure back on the bowlers with some well-judged running and clever rotation of the strike. Increasingly, as both began to look more comfortable at the crease, they added boundaries to their game and in the 31st over they surpassed Sri Lanka’s total to see England home by eight wickets.

    That wasn’t the end of the day’s entertainment, though, with England arranging to bat the full allocation of their overs. Taylor soon passed 50 and began to play with more aggression. Skipper Knight followed to record her first fifty since returning from a fractured metatarsal.

    Taylor became increasingly expansive and played two particularly attractive shots over the off-side before falling for 84. Knight wasn’t finished though and four boundaries in one over – including two big sixes – saw her reach her hundred in the best possible way. It was a welcome return to runs for England’s captain having spent more than a month on the sidelines.

    England’s middle order continued the attack to lay down a marker as the hosts reached 348 for five from their 50 overs.

    England play New Zealand – victorious in their warm-up game against India – on Wednesday before the tournament starts at Derby on Saturday.

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