White Rose quartet produce ‘perfect 10’ as England secure convincing triumph

England's Liam Plunkett celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Angelo Matthews (Picture: Davies Davies/PA Wire)
England's Liam Plunkett celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Angelo Matthews (Picture: Davies Davies/PA Wire)
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England impressed their captain Eoin Morgan with a complete performance to wrap up the Royal London Series 3-0 over Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

Joe Root’s hard-working 93, a typically hard-hitting and inventive 70 from man-of-the-match Jos Buttler and a half-century too from James Vince in his first one-day international innings helped England to 324-7.

David Willey celebrates one of four wickets against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

David Willey celebrates one of four wickets against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

Then their bowlers were always in control too as Sri Lanka were all out for 202, the Yorkshire duo of David Willey finishing with a career-best 4-34 and Liam Plunkett taking 3-44.

Adil Rashid took two wickets and with Jonny Bairstow involved in the run-out of Kusal Mendis, Yorkshire could claim to have taken all 10 Sri Lankan wickets.

There were no apparent weaknesses from England as they outplayed opponents for whom only Dinesh Chandimal – with his fourth consecutive half-century – stood defiant for long.

Morgan was therefore able to reflect on a fine end to a series which England began stickily 11 days ago at Trent Bridge.

After Willey had taken the final wicket on Saturday, with more than seven overs unused, Morgan said: “This was a very convincing performance. There was no let-up at all really.

“To come out and perform like that, given there wasn’t a great deal on the game, I think sums up the desire in the group.”

His satisfaction was a far cry from the perils of Nottingham, where England found themselves 82-6 at one stage in pursuit of 286-9.

Casting his mind back, Morgan added: “It was a very poor start ... I said we got out of jail, just two or three individual performances on that day did that for us.

“It was brilliant to come out of that game without being wounded. I thought that was a great effort.”

He believes England almost paid for a lack of necessary preparation.

“We can’t afford that at all.

“Probably looking back on it – not trying to make excuses – we met up (only) one day before, because of circumstances with the rain at Trent Bridge and weren’t able to train.

“I don’t think we’ll be doing that again.”

Root’s was something of a throwback contribution.

Coming the day after he had talked up the chances of a first England ODI double-century in the offing for one of the current top six, Root had to battle for his six fours from 106 balls.

Buttler stayed on the modern message, though, with seven fours and a six from 45 until he was yorked by Chaminda Bandara for the left-armer’s first wicket on debut.

Sri Lanka’s reply suffered an early blow when Willey had Kusal Perera lbw on the back foot.

Then a brilliant piece of out-fielding from Bairstow, a flat throw from the leg-side deep, was enough to run out Mendis as he tried to scamper a second.

Gunathilaka fell two short of a fourth ODI 50 when he too was pinned lbw, this time by Plunkett from round the wicket.

When Plunkett doubled up with the big wicket of Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, yorked, England were on the home straight.

Upul Tharanga registered a rare failure against these opponents, missing a drive at Adil Rashid to go for a golden duck, and Sri Lanka were already on track to end their campaign with a whimper. So it proved.

The admirably consistent Chandimal kept the hosts waiting with a defiant half-century, his fourth in succession.

But there was little worthwhile support as Plunkett and Willey hogged the spoils – the latter with three late wickets in only seven balls, notably bowling Chandimal.

Sri Lankan captain Angleo Matthews said: “This is a tough time for me as a captain and for the whole unit – but you can’t run away from it.”