England struggled against Sri Lanka as they lost their eighth wicket in the 41 overs during their World Cup clash at Headingley on Friday.
They were 178 and needed 55 more runs to win.
Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga became just the fourth bowler to take 50 wickets in Cricket World Cup history. He took four wickets in his first seven overs to reach the milestone and have top-ranked England in trouble chasing 233 to win their group game at Headingley.
He reached 50 when he had Joe Root caught behind to a ball edging down legside on 57.
He’s the only active bowler in the elite group. Australia paceman Glenn McGrath has the record with 71, followed by Sri Lanka offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan with 68 and Pakistan swing bowler Wasim Akram with 55.
Malinga is playing his 26th World Cup game and has best figures of 6-38. He famously took four wickets with four consecutive deliveries in a World Cup game against South Africa in 2007.
Malinga rolled back the years at Headingley with two quick wickets to give Sri Lanka hope of a shock World Cup win over the favourites.
The 35-year-old veteran paceman reduced England to 38 for two as they chased a seemingly modest target of 233.
And when Isara Udana caught and bowled England captain Eoin Morgan, the World Cup favourites were wobbling.
England were 76-3 off 20 overs but, significantly, the in-form Joe Root was 40 not out on his Yorkshire home ground. Ten overs later, he fell to Malinga after scoring 57 runs.
Malinga, renowned for his unorthodox ‘slingshot’ action dismissed Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck as the batsman aimed across the line, with a review unable to spare the local hero.
James Vince (14), deputising for the injured Jason Roy, then fell in all too familiar fashion when an edged drive off Malinga was caught by Kusal Mendis at slip.
Morgan, fresh from his one-day international record 17 sixes against Afghanistan, made a cautious 21 featuring a mere two fours before Udana held a sharp return catch to dismiss the Dubliner.
Sri Lanka innings
Jofra Archer moved joint top of the World Cup bowling charts as England restricted Sri Lanka to 232-9.
The fast bowler took 3-52 — his fifth three-wicket haul in six matches this World Cup — to join Australia’s Mitchell Starc on 15 wickets.
Fellow quick Mark Wood followed up with 3-40.
Sri Lanka’s total represented something of a recovery after a collapse to three for two.
Angelo Mathews’ painstaking 85 not out helped them bat their full 50 overs after Avishka Fernando revived the innings with a dashing 49 in his first match of the World Cup.
“We started off brilliantly to get two early wickets and then spinners controlled it in the middle,” Wood said.
“They didn’t get away from us at all. Angelo Mathews played well but we restricted them. It was a great team performance.
“I’m in the form of my career and have got to keep this form going.” Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and decided to bat under sunny skies — a welcome sight at a World Cup marred by washouts.
But the skipper fell for one when, off the last ball of the second over, he edged Archer to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.
And two balls later, without another run on the board, Kusal Perera slashed Chris Woakes to third man where Moeen Ali, in his 100th one-day international, held a safe catch.
But number three batsman Fernando, in just his seventh match at this level, hit 14 runs off one Archer.
And off the penultimate delivery off the 10-over powerplay, Fernando hooked Archer for a six out of the ground that saw the umpires call for a replacement ball.
Fernando fell in similar fashion to Perera, with a loose uppercut, this time off Wood, caught by Adil Rashid at third man.
It was the end of a 39-ball innings featuring two sixes and six fours, with Sri Lanka now 62-3 in the 13th over.
Former captain Mathews looked badly out of touch during an 84-ball fifty — the slowest of the tournament so far — with Sri Lanka managing just six boundaries in total from the 11th to 40th overs.
Sri Lanka’s fourth-wicket partnership of 71 ended when Kusal Mendis (46) slogged Rashid to England captain Eoin Morgan at short midwicket.
And 133 for four became 133 for five when next ball leg-spinner Rashid, on his Yorkshire home ground, caught and bowled Jeevan Mendis for a duck after deceiving the batsman with a well-flighted delivery.
Mathews, showing some belated aggression, hooked Archer’s first ball of the last over for six.
England, third in the table, will go ahead of leaders Australia if they defeat Sri Lanka, currently sixth in the standings.
The top four sides at the end of the 10-team round-robin group stage will qualify for the semi-finals.
England: Jonny Bairstow, James Vince, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Kusal Perera (wkt), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep