Sri Lanka v England LIVE: Moeen Ali, Jack Leach secure 57-run win for England

Sport360 staff 08:50 18/11/2018
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Moeen Ali is leading England's charge for a win.

Moeen Ali bagged the big wicket of Niroshan Dickwella early on day five to give England the perfect start. The England all-rounder picked up two wickets in three deliveries as he also sent back Suranga Lakmal for a duck.

Jack Leach then dismissed Malinda Pushpakumara to complete a 57-run win for England who take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

England were three wickets away from a series clinching win when play got underway in the final day of their second Test against Sri Lanka in Kandy.

The hosts resumed from their overnight score of 226-7 in the second innings, still 75 runs away from what would be a famous victory.

Do not miss any of the action from this enthralling Test at the Pallekele International Stadium by following the ball-by-ball coverage below.

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Live Cricket Blog: England push for series clinching win at Kandy

Sport360 staff 08:20 18/11/2018
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Catch all the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Welcome to Sunday’s live cricket blog.

The Sport360 team is in place bringing you the latest news from around the world as we follow and build up to some big matches.

Sri Lanka v England is on the docket today with the tourists chasing a series clinching win at Pallekele, while Pakistan v New Zealand is live too with the first Test at Abu Dhabi finely poised.

As always, get in touch with us through Facebook and Twitter.

8:00am – England push for series clinching win at Kandy

The final day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England is about to get underway with the tourists three wickets away from a win that will clinch the three-match series for them. Sri Lanka are batting at 226-7 in their second innings and are 75 runs away from a victory that would keep the series alive.

Which way will the pendulum swing in the final day at Pallekele? Do not miss any of the action by following our ball-by-ball coverage here.

Joe Root and England are three wickets away from a win.

Joe Root and England are three wickets away from a win.

7:30am – Angelo Mathews proving a point to Sri Lanka Cricket

After Sri Lanka’s disastrous Asia Cup campaign where they failed to make it past the group stage, Angelo Mathews was dropped as captain and axed from the ODI squad due to his apparent fitness issues and poor running between the wickets.

Since the embarrassing axing where Mathews was pretty much labelled out of shape by selector Graeme Labrooy, the batsman has scored three fifties in four innings against England in the home Test series.

Read our take on how the former Sri Lanka skipper is proving a point to his critics and detractors here.

Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Matthews.

Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Matthews.

7:00am – Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan makes quick recovery

Shakib Al Hasan was back from injury as Bangladesh named a 13-man squad for the first Test against the West Indies, which starts in Chittagong on November 22.

Shakib was expected to be sidelined for at least three months after he underwent surgery on an injured finger in September.

Read more on this story here.

Shakib Al Hasan.

Shakib Al Hasan.

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Angelo Mathews proves a point after embarrassing axing following Asia Cup

Ajit Vijaykumar 08:03 18/11/2018
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Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Matthews.

After Sri Lanka’s disastrous Asia Cup campaign where they failed to make it past the group stage, Angelo Mathews was dropped as captain and axed from the ODI squad due to his apparent fitness issues and poor running between the wickets.

Coach Chandika Hathurusingha gave the most elaborate and scathing assessment of Mathews’ shortcomings, detailing why he believed Mathews was dragging the team down with his lack of agility.

“Running between the wickets is a very big concern for us at the moment – for the whole team, not only for Mathews,” Hathurusingha had said in September.

“We want him to get fitter. His average since 2017 is 59 – I know that. But there are certain concerns. If you look at his record, he has been involved in about 64 run outs, and 49 times the opposite guy got run out. That’s a world record. Those are the things that we’ve been looking at. But I want him back as fresh as possible, and clear as possible, to serve the Sri Lankan team.”

It wasn’t as simple as that. Mathews has been one of the few consistent performers in ODIs for Sri Lanka, averaging 47 in 13 ODIs in 2016, 63 in 15 games last year and 52 in eight games this year. His chronic hamstring issues meant Mathews couldn’t be used as a regular all-rounder but that doesn’t diminish his record, run-outs aside.

Mathews wanted to prove his fitness but the Sri Lankan management was having none of it. So it was just Test cricket for Mathews.

Since the embarrassing axing where Mathews was pretty much labelled out of shape by selector Graeme Labrooy, the batsman has scored three fifties in four innings against England in the home Test series.

His second innings 88 in the Kandy Test while chasing a daunting 301 is one of the finest knocks you will see on a raging turner. After he gave Sri Lanka a shot at glory in the second Test, Mathews made it a point to state that he was playing the same way he had been earlier. Maybe the coach and selector had probably gone too far in casting him aside in ODIs.

“I have done nothing extraordinary when it comes to preparation,” Mathews said. “I have been training the same way for the past 10 years.”

It’s not like Sri Lanka are brimming with talented batsmen or leaders. A player of the caliber and experience of Mathews bring great value to any team he is a part of. Disregarding his stupendous numbers over the last three years and kicking him out of the team did Sri Lanka no good as they lost the ODI series at home to England 3-1.

Mathews showed his class in red-ball cricket against England but it was evident from his steely celebrations upon reaching fifty in the England Tests that he was still smarting from his ODI ouster. It’s the Sri Lankan management that ends up looking out of sync in this situation as Mathews is still churning out the runs.

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