Jos Buttler (68th to 55) reaches his thirteenth T20 fifty as England chase 130 to beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the first T20I; Watch the second game of the series, live on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 6 p.m. Thursday
England starter Jos Buttler broke eight limits and a six in his 68-win hit.
England managed an eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first T20 international match of their three-match series in Cardiff on Wednesday night.
By restricting Sri Lanka to a score well below par of 129-7 when it first used the surface of Sophia Gardens, England then chased its total with 17 balls to spare, with Jos Buttler shooting 68 undefeated out of 55 balls.
Buttler and Jason Roy (36 of 22) raced to a position of fifty within five overs, shooting 61 from the opening power play. Sri Lanka, by comparison, was just 39-2 after its first six.
Roy started in the 10th, with Danushka Gunathilaka making a surprising catch midway, but Buttler bought his fifty in the 12th and led the hosts to a comfortable victory.
Adil Rashid was chosen by the England bowlers, winning 2-17 of his four overs. Sam Curran (2-25) also got a pair, while Chris Woakes (0-14) proved particularly difficult to escape in his first T20 international in six years.
After winning the toss and opting to hit first, Sri Lanka lost to starter Avishka Fernando by a duck in the second over, leaving Curran in the middle of the field, where Chris Jordan claimed the first of three catches for innings.
Gunathilaka (19) outscored Mark Wood by consecutive limits in the fourth over, only to start in the fifth, dodging a ramp attempt by Jordan behind Buttler.
Tourists struggled little during the rest of their entries; Liam Livingstone (1-9) caught Kusal Mendis (9) lbw, Wood (1-33) caught Dhananjaya de Silva (3) caught in the third man, while Rashid claimed Sri Lanka captain Kusal Perera (30) and Wanindu Hasaranga (5) in consecutive overs.
Dasun Shanaka (50v44) put some respectability on the Sri Lanka scoreboard with some lustful late punches, improving his half-century in the final before overcoming Curran’s last ball.
In response, Buttler and Roy weren’t in the mood to stay. Roy broke four fours and took off the string once, causing Nuwan Pradeep to drift away over the middle. Buttler, meanwhile, hit the limit eight times and hit Akila Dananjaya for a glorious six in a straight line shortly before bringing in his thirteenth T20I fifty.
After Roy fell into Gunathilaka’s superb grip, Dawid Malan (7), by contrast, seemed far from comfortable during his 14-ball stint in the penalty area before being thrown by Isuru Udana.
But England was never in danger of stuttering over the finish line; Jonny Bairstow (13th on 12) crushed Dananjaya for a big six on a deep ball in midfield before Buttler was brought down by Perera, allowing him to slip away for the winning run.
Watch the second T20 International between England and Sri Lanka, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm on Thursday.