Captain Eoin Morgan hit 92 decisive runs to guide England to a damp squib win over Sri Lanka with rain halting play for the second straight match in their one-day series. England were awarded a 31-run victory on a faster run-rate after a torrential downpour at the Dambulla ground. The tourists scored 278 for nine from 50 overs, with Morgan hitting 11 fours and two sixes in his innings, while Test captain Joe Root made 71. The umpires stopped play with Sri Lanka on 140 for five after 29 of their overs. Thisara Perera was on 44 and Dhananjaya de Silva on 36 when play was halted. They put on 66 for the sixth wicket after Sri Lanka looked in deep trouble at 74 for five.
Heavy rain was still falling an hour after the suspension and England were given victory under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern run-rate system.
Only 15 overs of the first ODI between the two sides was possible on Wednesday before the game had to be abandoned without a result.
A warm-up game against a Sri Lanka Cricket XI on October 6 did not start because of rain.
“We have had a halted start in training and the first game with the rain,” said Morgan.
“I wouldn’t say it was our best game. The batting managed to scrape something together. We should have gone past a par score but ended up scraping to that.”
Morgan and Root put England on target to reach 300 but veteran paceman Lasith Malinga took critical wickets at the start and in the lower order to finish on five for 44 on the tricky Dambulla pitch.
He claimed England opener Jason Roy with the fourth ball of the day, brilliantly ended Morgan’s innings caught and bowled and also took Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Liam Dawson cheaply.
Malinga shook England, who slipped from 209 for four. Tailender Adil Rashid’s 19 runs off 15 balls helped raise England from 254 for nine to a respectable score.
Chris Woakes was England’s most threatening bowler, taking three for 26 off just five overs.
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal bemoaned the loss of his top order batsmen.
“Apart from the first seven or eight overs when batting we competed really well,” he said. “The energy in the field was good to see and was a plus point today.
“We are always giving away three or four wickets — and that’s an area we have to improve as a unit because that was a winning target.”
The third 50-over match is in Pallekele on Wednesday. England will also play two Tests and a Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka on the tour, which runs through November 27.