Woakes and Stone shine for England

15 October 2018

The pair opened the bowling for England and caused plenty of problems for the Sri Lankan top order.

Warwickshire bowling duo Chris Woakes and Olly Stone helped lead England to a 31 run (D/L method) victory over Sri Lanka in Dambulla giving the tourists a 1-0 series lead with three games remaining.

It was impressive start for the opening bowling pair who have had to endure the unpredicatabilty of Sri Lanka’s monsoon season with the first ODI abandoned after just 15 overs of play at the same venue three days earlier.

It is always a nice feeling to see batsmen ducking and diving.

Olly Stone

Stone had received his ODI cap – number 251 – from former England bowler Darren Gough before the disrupted series opener and showed no nerves when finally being able to get onto the field.

Consistently breaching the 140kph mark during his first spell in top-level cricket, Stone took 1 for 23 in six overs and unsettled a strong Sri Lankan top order with a variety of effective back-of-a-length and short balls.

A sharp bouncer at Niroshan Dickwella rewarded the Norfolk-bown seamer with his first international dismissal, with the batsman gloving the ball to the wicketkeeper. It was a sight that pleased the 25-year old.

“It is always a nice feeling to see batsmen ducking and diving,” said Stone

“It is just nice to come in and show them what I can do, I guess. There were a few nerves – all the noise was surreal. I was just trying to take it all in with a deep breath and then away I went.”

Stone’s impressive start perhaps overshadowed what was another fantastic performance from Woakes.

Speaking post-match, England captain Eoin Morgan praised the 29-year-old who took three wickets in an opening spell that saw the hosts’ batters play a variety of false and loose shots.

“I was impressed,” stated Morgan who believed Woakes’ spell allowed Stone to settle easier.

“Woakesy’s been doing that for a while now and a lot of the time goes overlooked but I really thought he set the tone.

“He made quite a relaxing impression early on to allow Olly to do exactly what he does. Olly bowled exactly how he does in the nets and the warm-up game, which I think is a really good sign. He bowled with pace, he managed to get the ball moving and he did it all with a very calm head on his shoulders.”

Woakes finished the match with figures of 3-26 off five overs and looked impressive after missing the home ODIs in the summer through injury.

Upul Tharanga was the first to depart after edging a ball behind to Jos Buttler in the opening over with new captain Dinesh Chandimal following four overs later as he chopped onto his stumps. Dasun Shanaka was the last victim, falling for eight courtesy of another Buttler catch.

England now head to Kandy for the third and fourth ODIs with the former taking place on Wednesday 17th as a day-nighter (10am BST) and the latter following three days later (5.15 am BST). The final ODI takes place at Colombo on Tuesday 23rd and is another day-nighter (10 BST).

The Test series, which includes both bowlers, starts on Tuesday 6th November in Galle and follows a T20 and tour match which both take place in Colombo.