Ignore me. Liam Livingstone takes an agricultural stride and slogs Lahiru up up up and down into the hands of Dhananjaya.
13th over: England 98-3 (Stokes 15, Livingstone 1) Nothing crosses the rope, but nothing has to: eight from the over, 36 needed from just 42. England happy to calmly make their way, it seems.
12th over: England 98-3 (Stokes 15, Livingstone 1) Five from Wanindu’s final over who finishes with 4-0-23-2.
11th over: England 93-3 (Stokes 11, Livingstone 0) Dhananjaya . Stokes picks up his first boundary, after the fielder does all the hard work before nudging the ball over the rope in his roll; before Brook falls. This is all under control though – right?
Damn, I’ve written it down somewhere but I’m pretty sure they’d have had to win already if they were going to top the group. If someone knows better, please tell me!
A hesitant chip is collected just off the ground by the quick thinking Dhananjaya
10th over: England 86-2 (Stokes 5, Brook 3) Two new batters at the crease but the win-predictor still gives the game to England by 95 per cent.
From nowhere, Hales finds himself walking back to the pavilion – going for the slog sweep but instead toe-ends it back to Wanindu who accepts the early Christmas present gratefully.
9th over: England 79-1 (Hales 46, Stokes 2 ) Dhananjaya puts the reigns on Alex Hales – six from the over and not a boundary to be had.
8th over: England 76-1 (Hales 44, Stokes 1 ) Stokes replaces Buttler, with Malan hampered by a groin strain, as Wanindu finished his wicket-taking over with three dots.
A beautiful diving catch by Chamika, falling through his leap and holding on in the Sydney night, as Buttler reads the wrong-un but can’t get full throttle on it.
7th over: England 74-0 (Buttler 28, Hales 43) Maheesh, in fresh royal blue boots, asserts some much-needed control.
“ Loving the OBO, thanks for taking the hot seat today.” A complete pleasure Richard Stant.
“As a Pom living in Canberra with an Aussie wife and in-Laws I’d just like to say we have this in the bag and nothing can possibly go wrong now.”
You know the OBO will hold you to that?!
6th over: England 70-0 (Buttler 25, Hales 42). Now Hales takes a turn, thudding into Rajitha, six over the leg side, shooting forward his front leg and biffing for four. Four more off a low full toss. Brief respite for Sri Lanka as they review a caught behind – there is a spike but it is from bat hitting earth – then Hales ends the power play with a welly for four more. This is turning into a procession.
“First time engaging with the always excellent OBO …”
Hello Max Bennett and welcome!
”On Mark Wood crying ‘Ginola!’ when kicking the ball towards the stumps:
One of my favourite things about Wood, and one that marks him out as a Magpies’ fan of a certain era, is that he cries out ‘Ginola!’ when kicking the ball at the stumps with his left foot and ‘Shearer!’ with his right. It’s super charming, I don’t think remotely affected, and always makes me think of him as a seven year old, in the same way that his post-delivery tumbles do (until you see the readings from the speed gun, that is).”
5th over: England 50-0 (Buttler 25, Hales 22). This isn’t looking good for Sri Lanka – or Australia. The taile end of Wanindu’s over is brutalised, polished off with a six by Buttler over long on.
4th over: England 38-0 (Buttler 14, Hales 21) Hales drives Lahiru perfectly, like a man in a maths test bisecting a circle, two bounces and over the rope. The next is whipped for four more. Sri Lanka must then endure a free-hit, which brings just the one with a slog. Buttler pings Lahiru up, up and away but just short of the diving Rajapaksa who ends up on the floor scrabbling for rogue potatoes from a torn brown paper bag. Buttler finishes the over by being hit in the guts.
3rd over: England 24-0 (Buttler 11, Hales 12) Buttler is done like a kipper by Maheesh, completely missing as the ball passes over middle stump and in – and out – of Mendis’s gloves. But a lusty reply is forthcoming with four down the ground.
A message wafts in from Italy. Hello Colum Fordham!:
“Beginning to rue my decision to sign up to a football match in the pouring rain in the outskirts of Naples when I could have been watching England’s response and enjoying the OBO in the warmth of my house. Hopefully Buttler and co will produce the fireworks which I believe are in order for the fifth of November.”
2nd over: England 15-0 (Buttler 2, Hales 12) Completely distracted by a deluge of emails on EM Foster.
John Starbuck: “I’d have thought Oscar Wilde was a better choice: ‘languid’ positively reeks of Dorian Gray.”
Tim Sanders: “Hello Tanya, I’m with Robert Lewis in the OBO E.M. Forster fan club. His characters generally have too much going on under the surface to be languid. It’s the Merchant-Ivory films that perhaps polish things up a little. I think Aziz in ‘A Passage To India’ is the most likely character to stroke elegant boundaries. Lucy Honeychurch from ‘A Room With A View’ would be busy at the crease and smite the ball with passion and vigour.”
And Hales cracks the military medium Rajitha for four down the ground, then over extra-cover for four more.
1st over: England 3-0 (Buttler 1, Hales 2) The tall Maheesh opens Sri Lanka’s account, Hales, in a thick black wristband is rather stuck in his crease by the fifth and – ooof – is – I think – dropped off the last ball by Mendis behind the stumps, as the ball barely lifts off the ground and he chops inelegantly.
And the players are already back out and I haven’t made another cup of coffee…
“Adil Rashid,” writes Tom Atkins. “Who goes for *sixteen* off a full spell in a T20? Preposterous.” Too true! 4-0-16-1, if you fancy. Put the breaks on when England looked as if they were losing their heads.
“Was it my imagination or did Wood shout ‘Ginola’ as he tried to kick the ball at the stumps?” asks Joseph Matthews. Damn, I didn’t catch it but eagle-eyed/eared OBOers may have done…
20th over: Sri Lanka 141-8 ( Chamika Karunaratne 0) And breathe. Rather a damp handshake of an ending to Sri Lanka’s innings after they were 52 for one after five overs. Three wickets in Wood’s final over, a well-deserved wicket at last for Adil Rashid and a tremendous innings from Pathum – just a shame he couldn’t find much support at the end.
And another, as Maheesh Theekshana takes a large step backwards and has a desperate slice at Wood’s last ball, it soars away and Alex Hales collects on the rope.
WAnindu caught short as Sri Lanka desperately run a bye, nicely gathered by Wood at the bowler’s end.
Bhanuka tries to pull Wood but is done for speed (just the 152kph), Wood hits the top of the bat and the ball loops to Sam Curran at mid-on.
19th over: Sri Lanka 134-5 (Bhanuka 18, Wanindu 9) A flick between the ankles by Wanindu off Sam Curran’s fourth ball brings a boundary, after he’d served up three dots in the first four balls. But just eight from the over and Sri Lanka will be lucky to reach 150 here after an outrageous start.
18th over: Sri Lanka 128-5 (Bhanuka 18, Wanindu 1 ) Five from the over, Mark Wood is fizzingly fast and superb at the death here.
“On behalf of the EM Forster fan club,” writes Robert Lewis, “I object to your description in Over 13. I think F Scott Fitzgerald would have been a more appropriate author to cite here.”
Surely much languid leaning in a Room with a View?
Sri Lanka faltering in the Sydney night – as a frustrated Dasun gets a feather on a Wood bullet.
17th over: Sri Lanka 123-4 (Bhanuka 16, Dasun 2) Leg bye, one, one, dot, dot, dot. Sam Curran scurrying, hurrying, tightfisted genius.
16th over: Sri Lanka 120-4 (Bhanuka 13, Dasun 1) A World Cup wicket for Rashid at last, after a most uncharacteristic fallow patch. Sri Lanka lose their accelerator pedal with four overs to go.
Hi Tanya, “Hello Tim Pare!”
Up at the top of Sri Lanka in an auditorium for presentations about a tech innovation hub doing fantastic projects… more than just me in the audience checking in on your coverage – didn’t realise Guardian cricket was so highly thought of. Fella on stage definitely confused by some of the reactions his presentation is getting.”
Well that is good news! Hello to everyone at the tech innovation presentation in Sri Lanka – thanks for tuning in.
The end of a brilliant innings, smartly caught by Chris Jordan, on for the injured Dawid Malan (what a sub fielder to have) sprinting in from the rope.
15th over: Sri Lanka 116-3 (Pathum 66, Bhanuka 13) Dawid Malan limps off the field after tweaking his groin and immediately signalling to the dressing room. As he makes his slow way round the SCG, Ben Stokes pulls off a balletic piece of fielding, sprinting, turning and throwing at full speed – and restricting a potential boundary to one run. Pathan makes the boundary a couple of balls later, through cover as the ball accelerates away from Sam Curran. And an upper-cut from Bhanuka to finish for four, effortlessly done.
14th over: Sri Lanka 104-3 (Pathum 60, Bhanuka 7) Rashid may not have been England’s wicket-taking machine in this competition, but another invaluable miserly over here, shirt untucked, quiet accuracy.
13th over: Sri Lanka 100-3 (Pathum 57, Bhanuka 6) Pancake time – Pathum eyes up a full wide one, plumps his thigh forward and shovels Stokes into the stands for six. A few balls later, he leans languidly, like a character from EM Forster, and slices the ball over the two chasing fielders for four more.
12th over: Sri Lanka 89-3 (Pathum 50, Bhanuka 2) Spin doing the business here for England after Sri Lanka’s initial onslaught. Five off Livingstone as Pathum moves to a superb fifty- off just 33 balls.
11th over: Sri Lanka 84-3 (Pathum 47, Bhanuka 0) Great stuff from Stokes –thudding the ball into the pitch, just three squeezed runs and a wicket.
“Morning Tanya.” Hello Simon McMahon! “Whatever happens on the field, the Sri Lankan fans are having an absolute ball by the looks of it. All sorts of face paints, fancy dress, brass bands and drums in the stands. Tremendous stuff. Let’s hope the game matches it.”
So true, much joy all round. And the Sydney sky is now flamed orange. If you’re there, I’m insanely jealous.
Ben Stokes slams the ball into the dirt and Charith top-edges to a calm-as-you-like Malan.
10th over: Sri Lanka 78-2 (Pathum 45, Charith 4) And eventually the over continues, as it began, with a single off every ball from Moeen Ali’s first over – except the last. And at half way, Sri Lanka’s momentum has slowed but they’re still in a tasty position.
9.3 overs over: Sri Lanka 78-2 (Pathum 45, Charith 4) The ball watching Sri Lankans escape a run-out but not injury as they collide mid-pitch in their haste. The Docs come out and while the batters are patched up, they take DRINKS.
9th over: Sri Lanka 75-2 (Pathum 44, Charith 2) – another wicket for Sam Curran in what has been an excellent World Cup – he’s the second highest wicket-taker. A wicket pocketed, and just four from the over.
Apologies for being slow on the email front. Tom VD Gucht writes:
“Everyone seems to talk about how England just need to do enough to win. From my experience, that’s fraught with danger. I remember an essay at uni only having a pass or fail grade – the pass mark was a measly 40%, so I phoned in the work thinking I’d do just enough rather than slaving away when there were no 2:1’s or even Desmonds on offer. Sadly, I underestimated what 40% should look like and ended up scraping through under the pass mark – spending my Easter holidays rewriting the damned thing. I worry that England might do the same and get bogged down before blowing it with a flurry of wickets when chasing a small score.”
Dhananjaya goes for one more whallop but hasn’t got the welly to cross the rope on the short side and Stokes does well, catching it sideways, keeping his feet just the right side of the boundary.
8th over: Sri Lanka 71-1 (Pathum 43, Dhananjaya 9) Rashid is again able to strangle the scoring – six off the over.
7th over: Sri Lanka 65-1 (Pathum 41, Dhananjaya 4) Fresh from his fielding triumph, Liam Livingstone takes the ball. All is, relatively, calm for England until the last ball, which Pathan slops over that short boundary and Chris Woakes for Six
I think the answer to this is: magic team alchemy
6th over: Sri Lanka 54-1 (Pathum 32, Dhananjaya 2) Relief for England as Buttler turns to Adil Rashid and he immediately asserts some control. Just two singles from it. And Mark Wood is back on the field.
5th over: Sri Lanka 52-1 (Pathum 31, Dhananjaya 1) Thirteen from Sam Curran’s first over, as Pathum springs onwards, unperturbed by the loss of his opening partner: a top edge over his head for four and another six, just, over the stretching Brook, slamming into the boundary.
4th over: Sri Lanka 39-1 (Pathum 20, Dhananjaya 0 ) – Mark Wood runs off the field after that eventful over – hopefully something and nothing. And the boundary haul continues as Mendis whips Woakes square for four more. Woakes respond with a wide soaring over Mendis’ head, then the breakthrough – spectacular acrobatics by Livingstone, and England needed that.
As Mendis pulls…. a spectacular catch by Liam Livingstone, sprinting round the boundary edge, sliding on his knees and holding on with both hands. A furious Mendis stalks off. Woakes double fist pumps.
3rd over: Sri Lanka 32-0 (Pathum 18, Mendis 13) Mark Wood, the fastest bowler in the tournament, flashes in. Mendis doesn’t bother with watchful waiting and shimmy-slams a whopper, landing rows back in the stands. Two people pose dressed as slices of water melon. Wood falls over in his follow through then Mendis picks up three more over midwicket. An an upper cut for six to finish! Just over the leaping Liam Livingstone’s head. Nissanka grins.
2nd over: Sri Lanka 15-0 (Pathum 11, Mendis 3) The camera pans up, out of the stadium, and we see the sun flaming on the horizon. It’s Chris Woakes with the ball, he needs, the stats flash up, just three wickets for 150 T20 wickets. No boundaries but some smart running from Sri Lanka and an excellent dive by Alex Hales on the edge of the circle.
An email, good morning Daniel Rickard!
“I haven’t been paying much attention to this competition, other than looking at the results, but we’re basically knock out stages now so I’m all in…
The trouble is, when you haven’t been doing the build up with the wife and kids (2 of the 3 are football only, no cricket) it’s hard for me and my eldest to just down tools for the whole morning out of the blue.
I’m sure everyone else will be fine. Come on England!!!”
1st over: Sri Lanka 9-0 (Pathum 8, Mendis 1) Ben Stokes’ first ball passes safely by but Pathum pulls the second effortlessly over the short boundary for six – at just 62 metres long, it will have batters salivating this evening.
Here come the players, Pathum Nissanka to take strike. The cameras pan round the SCG – it isn’t full but there’s a fair number. And my dog barks with immaculate timing because she refuses to squeeze through the back door left ajar and needs it opened for her.
England, arms round each others shoulders, line up for the National Anthem. Some belt it out, others – Jos Buttler – prefer the letterbox mouth method. And here is Sri Lanka’s jaunty tune, arms this time strictly down by their sides.
The SCG is sooo pretty, just gazing at that gorgeous green roof in the late afternoon sun. Do send me any thoughts by the way, just making a last-minute cup of coffee. Back in five.
And while you put the kettle on before play starts, this is a fantastic read:
Something to gee Sri Lanka up – teams batting first have won all five games at the SCG in this World Cup. But, on the other hand, none of the Sri Lankan team have beaten England in an international T20.
England are unchanged again, Sri Lanka make one switch, Karunaratne for Pramod Madushan.
England XI: Alex Hales, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.
Sri Lankan XI: :Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka , Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara.
Jos Buttler and Dasun Shanaka shake hands – and Buttler says he would have batted first as well on a used pitch.
It’s a chilly old morning here in Manchester, but the crowds are gathering at the SCG where England can’t expect much in the way of support from the Australian fans. Australia are out in their own backyard unless Sri Lanka can pull off a surprise. And rain, incidentally, is not England’s friend.
Good morning! Well here we are, after three weeks of going round the houses, it is crunch time. England and Sri Lanka meet at Sydney in a match that will decide who will hot-foot it to the semi-finals . Throw away the calculator -if England win, they are through , after Australia failed to beat Afghanistan by enough to bring run-rate into the equation. If Sri Lanka win, Australia will join New Zealand as Group One’s travellers to the knock-out stages.
England are buoyant, fresh from their must-win victory over New Zealand, even without this man, busy presenting shirts back home.
Sri Lanka can go no further in the tournament, but Chris Silverwood’s side are more than capable of making life uncomfortable for England on a used Sydney track with a sausage factory of spinners up their sleeve. They haven’t beaten England since 2014, but their autumn Asia Cup win shows they have recent history of pulling off an upset.
Play starts at 8am GMT, the weather is set fair. See you there!