Top 5 Sri Lanka vs England encounters
England and Sri Lanka take on each other once again come this Wednesday as the rejuvenated visitors embark on their quest of world domination, starting in one of the hardest countries to play cricket in. Partisan crowds, the humid tropical weather which a far cry from the calming breeze of the northern latitudes and the absence of the luxury of tailor-made batting tracks, England will truly have to raise their game to a higher level to be able to come out on top in the series.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have had a torrid time in ODIs ever since their disheartening loss to South Africa in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final. They have had on-field and off-field synchronizing troubles, players have retired, captains have switched at a rate that would make the English summer of '88 look civil and in all, there has been a total disorganization in the ODI setup of a side that was once one of the most well-rounded sides in the world.
England and Sri Lanka have had a competitive ODI history, mostly banking on the fact that both the teams have always held a low-key reputation. So when they meet, there are no glorified losers, all that is there is a dogged winner. Let us look at some of the best contests between the two sides over the years.
#5 Colombo 1982, England won by 5 runs
The first time ever England played an ODI on Sri Lankan soil, it turned out to be the right epitome of how contests between these two sides would pan out for the following years. An era of easily manipulative match regulations, it was a 45 over a side contest. England, batting first against a rather unassuming Sri Lankan outfit being the youngest Test nation, built a solid platform to capitalize on.
Fifties by Graham Gooch and Ian Botham made sure they had their sights on a dominating total. But they collapsed from 3/191 to all out for 211, thanks to Ashanta de Mel taking wickets left and right, finishing with 4/34 and a runout.
An inexperienced Sri Lankan side strung together small partnerships but their caution set them back in the chase. Anura Ranasinghe's half-century at number seven, coming at quicker than run-a-ball brought them back into the match. But Botham was too good for him as his canny bowling and furthermore, some shrewd captaincy from Beefy himself suffocated the Sri Lankan tail to keep them five runs from England's total.
While England went 1-0 up in the series, Sri Lanka established that they would be no pushovers, even going on to win the second and final match of the series by 7 runs.