Sri Lanka pushed dismal England to the brink of World Cup elimination when they handed the defending champions an eight-wicket thrashing at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, India.
Chasing just 157 to win in the match on Thursday, Sri Lanka reached 160-2 with a massive 146 balls to spare thanks to in-form Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama.
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Nissanka hit an undefeated 77, his fourth successive fifty at the tournament, while Samarawickrama was 65 not out to add to the 108 he made against Pakistan and 91 in the win over the Netherlands.
Sri Lanka earlier restricted England to a below-par 156 all out in 33.2 overs in the must-win encounter between the tournament’s stragglers, with only Ben Stokes offering some resistance in an otherwise dismal batting display.
Stokes (43) took the attack to Sri Lanka on a dry wicket at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium after England’s middle-order collapsed in the face of some incisive bowling, but he holed out to Dushan Hemantha in the deep off Lahiru Kumara (3-35) in the 31st over.
England enjoyed an early slice of luck after Jos Buttler won the toss and opted to bat as Jonny Bairstow (30) survived an leg-before-wicket chance when Sri Lanka failed to review, but he did not build on his breezy start and gifted his wicket to Kasun Rajitha (2-36).
Sri Lanka had put the brakes on England’s scoring following the powerplay as veteran Angelo Mathews (2-14) dismissed opener Dawid Malan (28) and then helped run out Joe Root before Kumara struck twice to leave the holders in tatters at 85-5.
Mathews, called in to play in his fourth World Cup as an injury replacement for Matheesha Pathirana, snared Moeen Ali in his second spell while Chris Woakes fell to Rajitha after a low diving catch by Samarawickrama.
Sri Lanka, who came into the contest with the same record as England – three losses in four matches – then ripped through the tail to ensure the lowest all-out total in Bengaluru and lay the platform for a comprehensive victory.
A comprehensive win for Sri Lanka as we beat defending champions England by 8 wickets! 🦁👏 #LankanLions on the march! 👊#SLvENG #CWC23 pic.twitter.com/4jURXysvzn
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) October 26, 2023