LONDON, (Reuters) – A fiery opening spell from fast bowler James Anderson allowed Alastair Cook to celebrate his first home match as England’s one-day captain with a thumping 110-run win over a shell-shocked Sri Lanka at the Oval yesterday.
Anderson had been left out of England’s lineup the last time the teams met over 50 overs, when Sri Lanka romped to a 10-wicket win in the World Cup quarter-finals in Colombo, as he struggled to come to grips with the dead sub-continent pitches.
But, back on more familiar ground, there was no stopping England’s main strike bowler as he made sure their total of 229-8 off 32 overs in the first one-day international could not be touched.
The Ashes hero removed dangermen Tillakaratne Dilshan (1), Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Kumar Sangakkara (4) within the space of 15 deliveries to leave the World Cup runners-up reeling on 15-4.
Sri Lanka never managed to recover from the setback and would have suffered an even heavier defeat had it not been for a 52-run ninth wicket partnership between tailenders Lasith Malinga and Suraj Randiv.
Tottering on 69-8 in the 22nd over, the duo came together to frustrate the hosts but even their swashbuckling tactics — with Malinga clobbering the only six of the Sri Lankan innings — could only delay the inevitable.
A three-hour rain interruption reduced the game to 32 overs-a-side but Craig Kieswetter (61) and Eoin Morgan (45) made the most of their time in the middle by laying the foundations for England’s total.
Anderson then tore into Sri Lanka’s top order to finish with 4-18 and chipped in with three catches, including a caught and bowled effort to dismiss Sangakkara.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann (3-18) cleaned up the tail as Sri Lanka were all out for 121 with five overs to spare.