Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 68 helps England to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 in Cardiff.
|Sri Lanka 129-7 (20 overs): Shanaka 50, Rashid 2-17, Curran 2-25|
|England 130-2 (17.1 overs): Buttler 68, Roy 36, Chameera 1-24|
|England won by eight wickets|
Chasing 130, Buttler and Jason Roy shared an 86-run opening stand before Roy fell for 36 to a stunning catch from Danushka Gunathilaka.
However, Buttler anchored England as they won with 17 balls to spare.
Sri Lanka earlier struggled to 129-7, with Dasun Shanaka making 50 and Adil Rashid taking 2-17 and Sam Curran 2-35.
The second game of the three-match series takes place on the same pitch at Sophia Gardens on Thursday.
Captain Eoin Morgan said before the match that this series would give players the chance to push for selection for the T20 World Cup starting in October.
While Chris Woakes, playing his first international T20 since 2015, bowled tidily, it was Rashid who stood out for the hosts.
He did not concede a boundary in his four-over spell and his variations forced both Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga to hole out to Chris Jordan at long-on.
Despite opting to bat first, Sri Lanka never got going on a slow surface. They went 35 balls without a boundary after losing Danushka Gunathilaka in the fifth over and struggled to put any pressure on England’s fielders with their running.
It was only Shanaka’s acceleration, moving from 26 off 33 balls to a 43-ball half-century, that gave them a decent total.
In response, Buttler moved to his ninth half-century in 20 innings as an opener, in a performance described as a “masterclass” by Morgan.
After playing carefully early on, Buttler unleashed, hitting eight fours and one six, including consecutive boundaries off Isuru Udana.
Roy struggled for rhythm and his innings was brought to an end by a superb catch by Gunathilaka, leaping full length to his left at mid-off.
Dawid Malan also found the pitch difficult to read, toiling to seven off 13 balls before he was bowled by Udana, but Buttler saw England home with ease.
‘England were just class’ – what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan on BBC Test Match Special: “It’s a great way to start a series that’s so condensed.
“The bowlers really did set the tone, so full credit to them. Chris Woakes has come and performed extremely well. Liam Livingstone has done a really good job and taken his opportunity.
“In the chase, Roy and Buttler at the top of the order are a quite formidable pair, and when they play in the fashion that they can be quite intimidating.”
England bowler James Anderson on TMS: “England were just class in every department. Their fielding was faultless; the death bowling was great; the spinners in the middle; Adil Rashid was again class.
“Building up to this World Cup, they’ve now got an opportunity over the next few months to just have a look at people.”
Sri Lanka captain Kusal Perera: “Our batting department was not up to the mark – 130 was not good enough against the number one side in the world.
“Our bowlers gave us a little bit of hope. There are a lot of youngsters in our team but that is no an excuse. We have to adapt to conditions.”