England 324 for 7 (Root 93, Buttler 70, Vince 51) beat Sri Lanka 202 (Chandimal 53, Willey 4-34) by 122 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
England's start was swift, their middle overs lively, and their finish was efficient. In response to an imposing total of 324, their visitors stuttered at the outset, lost wickets through the middle, and arrived at a limp finish. Sri Lanka's 122-run defeat was an apt reflection of the chasm between the quality of the teams on display this series, which England have sewn up 3-0.
Joe Root produced a seamless 93 from 106 balls to underpin his team's dynamic innings, but it was arguably Jos Buttler who played the most electric knock within it. He set off with a four to fine leg, collected quick runs into the outfield for a while, then after facing 25 deliveries, let fly with the boundaries. There were shovels over the shoulder, searing cuts, crunching drives and a six over long off, all executed with a powerful bottom hand. His tally was 70 off 45. James Vince had also hit a half-century at the top of the innings.
Erratic seam bowling at either end of the innings had helped England to their imposing total. Most hopes of Sri Lanka running that score down then dissipated in the first 22 overs, after which they were 107 for 5. Dinesh Chandimal made his fourth consecutive fifty as the wickets fell around him, before David Willey wiped out the tail to finish with four wickets for himself. Sri Lanka were all out for 202, and never in the course of their chase, did they appear to have the measure of their target.
In England's innings, Danushka Gunathilaka's part-time offspin claimed three wickets for 48 from his full quota of overs, but it was debutant left-arm seamer Chaminda Bandara's 1 for 83 which was the more definitive set of figures. Bandara was wayward at the outset while the other seam bowlers failed to pose a consistent threat, and costly at the death when everyone was going for runs. Nuwan Pradeep was also expensive again, giving away more than seven an over, as he attempts to come to grips closing out an innings.
England had purred into motion with a cover-driven boundary from Jason Roy's bat, third ball. Though play was soon left suspended for about 25 minutes by a passing shower, the hosts' tempo rarely wavered over the following three-and-a-half hours. Bandara bowled overs that cost 11 and 14 in the Powerplay, while more experienced bowlers delivered more disciplined, but hardly miserly, spells. By the tenth over, only seven boundaries had been struck in all, yet 66 runs had been gathered. The green tinge on the pitch, which had put both captains in the mood to bowl first, offered only modest sideways movement. The overhead cloud made for only the slightest swing.
The dismissal of Roy came somewhat against the run of play - caught on the midwicket boundary off Suranga Lakmal for a run-a-ball 34. Root, the next batsman, sent his first ball skipping through the covers for four, and Vince continued his pretty progress alongside the new man, the pair flitting efficiently between their wickets until Vince reached his first international fifty, off 54 balls. He was soon out charging Gunathilaka, who pulled his length back and slipped a ball past Vince's advance, but neither that wicket, nor the next one, really dented England's rate of progress. Halfway through the innings, the hosts were 138 for 3.
With a confident Gunathilaka proving so successful, Mathews banked on spin through the middle overs. Jonny Bairstow was occasionally tested by it during his 21 off 28, but Root's mastery of the single prevented Sri Lanka from making substantial headway. This steady beat of ones and twos was occasionally enlivened by the crash of cymbals: the reverse-paddle for four off the exceptionally part-time bowling of Kusal Mendis, the clatter through the covers at the end of the 38th over.
Buttler twice hit Pradeep for consecutive fours, and thwacked a six off Lakmal in the 44th over, as he scored 45 runs from the last 20 balls he faced. It was he who propelled England's run rate past six, and though he was out in the 48th over to give Bandara his first international wicket, had laid the groundwork for a fast finish. Thirty-three runs were hit off the last three overs.
When the chase got under way an inability to pierce the lively infield drew a fatal mistake from Kusal Perera, not for the first time in the series. He was out lbw to Willey at the end of the fourth over. Mendis and Gunathilaka attempted to build the platform Sri Lanka required, before committing another of Sri Lanka's most common mistakes through the series: attempting to come back for a second run in the 14th over, Mendis was caught short by Bairstow's throw.
From 66 for 2, the match slipped quickly. Gunathilaka was lbw to Liam Plunkett for 48. Mathews had his stumps splayed by a yorker from the same bowler. Upul Tharanga was bowled first delivery by Adil Rashid, and Dasun Shanaka was stumped off him, some time later. When Seekkuge Prasanna was caught at fine leg by a diving Willey, Sri Lanka had crumbled to 170 for 7 in the 35th over. A brittle tail didn't hang around long.