England suffered their heaviest ever defeat in an one-day international, as they were beaten by 219 runs on the Duckworth Lewis method by Sri Lanka in Columbo. In what was a dead rubber, it was a below par performance by England, whilst Sri Lanka and their supporters thoroughly enjoyed a rare victory.
With the series fate already decided, both teams took the opportunity to rest a number of players. The hosts brought in Dushmantha Chameera, and Lakshan Sandakan for Lasith Malinga and Amila Aponso respectively, whilst the visitors omitted captain Eoin Morgan, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone, in favour of Sam Curran, Mark Wood, and Liam Plunkett. Jos Buttler assumed the captaincy.
Trailing already by three matches to none, Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. They got off to an excellent start through openers Niroshan Dickwella and Sadeera Samarawickrama, helped by some loose bowling from the English pacemen, with the pair scoring at seven runs an over. The pair raced past the hundred mark, and with each claiming a half-century, a major total looked on the cards. It was only when the England spin duo of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid were introduced into the attack that a modicum of control was regained by the away side, Ali finally striking when he dismissed Samarawickrama for 54, bowled for 54, after striking 8 fours. Dickwella looked likely to complete his century but, having added 31 for the second wicket with Dinesh Chandimal, he was lbw to Ali for 95. He had faced 97 balls, and hit 12 fours.
His departure meant no respite for England, however, as Chandimal and Kusal Mendis continued the onslaught, with a stand of 102, with Mendis, in particular, taking the lead. He smashed 56 off just 33 balls, including 6 sixes, and helped his side press home their advantage before he finally fell, caught in the deep off the bowling of Plunkett. Dasun Shanaka then came in to join the attack with his captain Chandimal, but, after a brief cameo of 18, he gave a top edge to Rashid and was caught by Jason Roy.
Sri Lanka were not finished yet. Chandimal advanced his own score to 80 before, having hit 2 sixes, he fell caught by Roy off the bowling of Tom Curran. Next ball Thisara Perera perished to the same bowler for 11, but then Dhananjaya de Silva and Akila Danajaya added a quick-fire 36, as Sri Lanka closed on 366 – 6. De Silva was unbeaten at the end on 19, whilst his partner was 18 not out. None of the England bowlers will be in a hurry to read their figures from this match.
To make matters worse for the visitors they got off to a dreadful start, losing 3 wickets in the space of 5 balls. First to go was Roy, bowled by Kasun Rajitha for 4, followed by his opening partner Hayles who was caught by Mendis off the bowling of Chameera for a duck. Buttler then was caught behind off the same bowler 2 balls later, as England plunged to 4/3.
Root and Stokes added 22, but then when Root was caught by Samarawickrama off Chameera for just 10, England faced a humiliating thrashing. Stokes and Ali did their best to add some respectability to the score with a stand of 77 for the fifth wicket, but when Ali fell for 37, caught by Chandimal off the bowling of Dhananjaya, the end was in sight. Sam Curran fell for just 2 and then Stokes, who had batted well for 67, was caught by Perera off Dananjaya. The same bowler then picked up the wickets of Rashid and Plunkett and, when the rain finally came, England were hopelessly adrift at 132/9.