Tom Curran shines as England bowl Sri Lanka out for 166 in third ODI
Tom Curran took his turn to shine as England’s bowlers completed their domination of Sri Lanka in pursuit of a 3-0 whitewash in the Royal London one-day series.
Curran took four for 35 at Bristol, the second best figures of his career, as the lacklustre tourists scraped together 166 all out, their worst effort yet.
The 26-year-old had more to play for than most of his team-mates after a five-match wicketless streak in white-ball internationals and found a flimsy batting line-up in obliging mood.
With the series already wrapped up, England had hinted at a more experimental side, but submitted a wholly familiar team-sheet.
With George Garton, Liam Livingstone, Liam Dawson and Tom Banton all kept on ice, Chris Woakes’ return in place of Mark Wood was the only change.
Eoin Morgan took a similarly single-minded view at the toss, sending in Sri Lanka to bat first for the third time in a row – a logical assessment, but one that sucked some of the enthusiasm from a crowd hoping to see some big-hitting.
As on the previous two occasions, England made serious headway with the new ball, leaving Sri Lanka hamstrung on 45 for four after the 10-over powerplay.
Woakes was straight back into the groove, bowling Kusal Perera off an inside edge in his second over, before David Willey continued his profitable series with an lbw against Avishka Fernando and a slanted delivery that Pathum Nissanka nicked behind.
Dhananjaya De Silva had scored a revitalising 91 from a similarly-precarious position at the Kia Oval but there was no repeat here, swatting Woakes’ bouncer straight to fine-leg with a solitary boundary to his name.
As an event there was already the whiff of anti-climax, but with his place under scrutiny, the stakes were real for Curran.
Oshada Fernando’s weak and wobbly drive looped to mid-off to end his barren run and he made it two when Wanindu Hasaranga’s weakness for a botched pull shot reared its head.
After a short rest, during which Sri Lanka made only gentle progress, he was back in the attack and doubled his haul by pounding the channel outside off and waiting for Chamika Karunaratne and Binura Fernando to make a mistake. Jonny Bairstow was on hand when they did.
A five-wicket haul to match the one taken by brother Sam in the previous match seemingly beckoned, but his last two overs after a rain delay yielded only a couple of close calls.
Dasun Shanaka cashed in on some unusual field placings to make a 48 not out, with two sixes off Adil Rashid, but a stumping for the leg-spinner and a comedy run-out ended things in the 42nd over.
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