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England facing early World Cup exit after woeful defeat to Sri Lanka

icc cricket world cup 2023 england v sri lanka
Champions England have been hammered in four of their five matches in India

Sri Lanka breathed life into their World Cup campaign and left England in increasing danger of missing out on a semi-final spot after crushing the defending champions by eight wickets in a low-scoring match on Thursday.

Chasing a modest 157 for only their second win, Sri Lanka overcame the loss of two early wickets before Pathum Nissanka (77 not out) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (65 not out) got them across the finish line in 25.4 overs.

They earlier restricted England to a below-par 156 all out in 33.2 overs in the must-win encounter between the tournament’s stragglers, with only Ben Stokes offering some resistance in an otherwise dismal batting display.

Stokes (43) took the attack to Sri Lanka on a dry wicket at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium after England’s middle-order collapsed in the face of some incisive bowling, but he holed out to Dushan Hemantha in the deep off Lahiru Kumara (3-35) in the 31st over.

England enjoyed an early slice of luck after Jos Buttler won the toss and opted to bat as Jonny Bairstow (30) survived an lbw chance when Sri Lanka failed to review, but he did not build on his breezy start and gifted his wicket to Kasun Rajitha (2-36).

Sri Lanka had put the brakes on England’s scoring following the powerplay as veteran Angelo Mathews (2-14) dismissed opener Dawid Malan (28) and then helped run out Joe Root before Kumara struck twice to leave the holders in tatters at 85-5.

Mathews, called in to play in his fourth World Cup as an injury replacement for Matheesha Pathirana, snared Moeen Ali in his second spell while Chris Woakes fell to Rajitha after a low diving catch by Samarawickrama.

Sri Lanka, who came into the contest with the same record as England – three losses in four matches – then ripped through the tail to ensure the lowest all-out total in Bengaluru and lay the platform for a comprehensive victory.

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