KANDY – Thunder, lightning and torrential rain halted England on their Sri Lanka tour on Saturday, but they wrapped up the one-day series against their hosts with a faster run-rate.
After Dasun Shanaka hit a boundary-smattered 66 to help Sri Lanka make 273/7 from their 50 overs, Jason Roy made 45 and England pair Joe Root and captain Eoin Morgan were just shifting up a gear in the chase when dark clouds gathered over Kandy.
With England on 132/2 from 27 overs, Root (32) and Morgan (31) seemed well placed to put their side on the route to victory. They already led the series 2-0 going into the fourth of the five games.
As with the other wins, the decision came with the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern run-rate system, and England were awarded victory by 18 runs. Every game in the series has now been halted or interrupted by rain.
While frustrated, Morgan will be satisfied with the show from his team in difficult circumstances.
Roy, who will play for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in the Mzansi Super League in South Africa next month, closed in on a half-century, which included a six and five fours, when an Akila Dananjaya leg-spinner hit his pad as he came down the wicket.
The umpire did not give him out – but Sri Lanka demanded a review, which proved their shouting was justified.
Morgan, who will turn out for the Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League, himself was shunting ahead with a six and three fours in 34 balls when the deluge started.
Earlier, Shanaka led another starring role for Sri Lanka’s middle-order after England won the toss and made the home side bat at the Pallekele stadium.
Opener Niroshan Dickwella’s 52 was the only resistance shown by Sri Lanka’s leading batsmen.
Shanaka made five sixes and four fours in his highest 50-over score, which kept Sri Lanka in a game they had to win to hold out any hope of avoiding another series defeat.
Moeen Ali was England’s most effective bowler, taking 2/55 as the tourists used a mixture of spin and pace to maintain pressure.
Dickwella steadied the Sri Lanka innings, putting on 60 for the second wicket, with captain Dinesh Chandimal (30) after Sadeera Samaawickrama fell for one.
Thisara Perera (44) and Dananjaya (32 not out) put on 56 for the seventh wicket to give a late boost to the score.
The final one-day game is in Colombo on Tuesday, while the two play a 20-over challenge next Saturday. They will play three Tests in November.