ICC World Cup: Sri Lanka beat defending champions England by 8 wickets

Nissanka and Samarawickrama stitched an unbroken partnership of 137 runs

Sadeera Samarawickrama plays a shot against England | AP Sadeera Samarawickrama plays a shot against England | AP

Sri Lanka batters Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama played mature innings to help Sri Lanka beat defending champions in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in Bengaluru on Thursday. Chasing 157 to win, Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera (4) and captain Kusal Mendis (11) early. But the English bowlers failed to pick any more wickets as Nissanka and Samarawickrama batted with commendable class and patience.

Nissanka and Samarawickrama stitched an unbroken partnership of 137 runs to get their team home with 24.2 overs to spare. While opener Nissanka made 77 from 83 (7X4, 2X6), Samarawickrama scored 64 from 53 (7X4, 1X6).

Earlier, Sri Lanka restricted England to a below-par 156 in 33.2 overs in the must-win encounter between the tournament's stragglers.

Ben 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 lbw 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. 

- With Reuters inputs

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp