Jos Buttler boosted his hopes of a Test recall for the Pakistan series as his stunning 73 not out helped England win the T20 international against Sri Lanka in Southampton. Buttler gave the tourists’ attack the runaround with four sixes and three fours in a 49-ball innings which was his highest ever T20 score, and saw England cruise home by eight wickets with 15 balls to spare.
Eoin Morgan also played a leading role with an unbeaten 47, the England captain shrugging off an earlier dislocated finger after Sri Lanka had been dismissed for 140 off their 20 overs. The defeat completed a miserable tour for Sri Lanka who failed to beat England in any of the nine international matches with the home side winning the Super Series 20-4.
Jason Roy went for a third ball duck, bowled around his legs by Angelo Matthews, and James Vince went for 16. But then it became the Buttler and Morgan show. Buttler, moved up to open the batting order having been told by coach Trevor Bayliss he was in with a shout for a possible Test place, survived an early scare when he appeared to nick a delivery in Mathews’ next over to wicket keeper Dinesh Chandimal.
Replays suggested he did hit the ball but the appeal was turned down and the England man made the most of his luck. He smashed Mathews over mid-on for a huge six, the first of the innings and he punched Farveez Maharoof down the ground for six and did the same to Danuska Gunathilaka’s spin.
Morgan was dropped by Mathews when on just eight but then struck spinner Seekkuge Prasanna for a straight six. England moved up the gears with Buttler reaching his half century with a boundary off Chaminda Bandara, and he and Morgan saw their side home with considerable ease. Morgan smashing the winning runs with a six. Sri Lanka’s total never looked enough on a fine batting wicket.
Liam Dawson produced a sparkling debut performance as the Hampshire spinner took centre stage on his home Ageas Bowl ground to take 3-27 from four accurate overs while Chris Jordan grabbed 3-29 and pace man Liam Plunkett took 2-27.
Another debut bowler, left-arm fast bowler Tymal Mills, failed to take a wicket but went for only 22 runs off his four overs, bowling quickly and hitting 92mph plus.