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Sri Lanka Stun England At Headingley

Sri Lanka Stun England At Headingley

England have slipped to a shock World Cup defeat by losing to Sri Lanka at Headingley by 20 runs. The hosts, who had won four of their first five games before Friday’s showdown in Leeds, were fully expected to maintain their momentum with another victory but fell short as Sri Lanka claimed a surprise scalp.

Sri Lanka posted 232-9 to set what appeared to be a very achievable target of 233 for England to win but, despite all-rounder Ben Stokes’ best efforts with his 82 not out, they failed to get over the line, stumbling to 212 all out in their chase.

Related: Sri Lanka Take Series With Second Test Victory

England captain Eoin Morgan admitted his side had struggled uncharacteristically when batting as only Stokes and Joe Root (57) looked anywhere near their best. He said: “We lost it probably more so with the bat than with the ball. Our bowlers adapted to the conditions and we kept them to a chaseable total.

“There was lack of substantial partnerships. A couple of individual performances nearly got us over the line. “It’s frustrating. We are going to lose games, they are all tough matches. It’s about fronting up for the next game against Australia and bouncing back well on Tuesday.”

Sri Lanka had fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who took 4-43, and Dhananjaya de Silva (3-32) to largely thank as they restricted previously in-form England and ultimately forced Stokes into going for dangerous big shots in the reply.

He said: “We know how hard Ben Stokes hits it, he got two or three boundaries but we just kept bowling our stock ball. We stuck to our basic plan – line and length, no loose balls and add in some variations and bouncers.

“We want to carry on the momentum and confidence into the other matches.” England are now third in the table but can still make the semis, with games coming up against Australia, India and New Zealand, while Sri Lanka are fifth after two wins and two defeats so far.

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