Plunkett six secures dramatic tie

Liam Plunkett smashed Nuwan Pradeep for a massive six over long-off off the final delivery of the first One-Day International against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge to help England secure a dramatic tie on Tuesday (June 21). This was the 33rd instance of a tie in ODIs.

After Angelo Mathews’ 73 and Seekkuge Prasanna’s 59 had powered Sri Lanka to 286 for 9 from 50 overs, England stuttered to 82 for 6 with hopes of a comeback all but dashed. But a 138-run between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler revived its chances, and eventually it was Plunkett who took it to the line with his unbeaten 22 as England reached 286 for 8 from 50 overs. Woakes finished on an unbeaten 95 to garner the man of the match honours while Buttler came up with a crucial 93.

There was still work to be done once that seventh-wicket alliance had been cut short by Prasanna, Buttler caught brilliantly in the deep by Dasun Shanaka. At that stage, England needed 67 from 45 and David Willey joined Woakes in the middle. Willey fell after making just 7, further impeding England’s chances, but little did the host know that Plunkett’s long handle would make the difference.

With 14 needed off the last over, the duo kept within striking distance and the three they scurried off the penultimate ball raised their hopes of a tie. Plunkett then did the rest.

“It was nice to get that one out,” said Plunkett after the game. “Woakesy put us in a great position and we bat all the way down. It’s good for the team … if you have a wobble up top, you can carry on.”

Sri Lanka tour of England 2016 – 1st ODI at Trent Bridge View Full

After Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to bowl first on a responsive surface, Sri Lanka lost its top three with just 56 runs on board, but a careful resuscitation from Dinesh Chandimal and Mathews ensured some foothold in the contest. The duo had set the base for Prasanna to bludgeon England’s bowling after Chandimal’s dismissal. Prasanna’s 59 came from just 28 deliveries with eight fours and four sixes.

Sri Lanka’s tail too wagged to ensure a healthy total in the end. Woakes and Willey finished with identical figures of 2 for 56 from 10 overs, while Plunkett conceded 67 to pick up two wickets from his 10-over quota.

In response, England was reduced to 17 for 3 and it got worse as Sri Lanka’s bowlers locked in.

“I thought we had the game in the bag for most of the overs. Unfortunately, the yorker fell just off line and went for a six,” Mathews said later of the fateful final delivery. For Pradeep, it happens. Unfortunately for bowlers, it happens.”

England would have been happy with a target of 287 on a ground where last year it made 350 for 6 against New Zealand – its highest winning score batting second in an ODI. But it looked an imposing total as it lost four wickets inside nine overs. Jason Roy (3) was caught plumb in front of the stumps by Mathews, and Alex Hales (4) fell on his Nottinghamshire home ground when he chipped Suranga Lakmal to mid-wicket. Joe Root (2) then played on to Mathews.

Jonny Bairstow, recalled to ODI duty after making 387 runs, including two hundreds, during England’s 2-0 Test series win, holed out for 3 after being dropped on zero.

Morgan made a brisk 43 before he was caught behind off Pradeep, who then removed Moeen Ali to leave England in dire straits. But Buttler went to a run-a-ball fifty with a straight six off Prasanna before eventually falling.

Woakes and Plunkett got England’s target down to 30 off the last two overs, and that became 14 off the last six balls.

Woakes took two off the first ball before digging out a yorker for a single that left Plunkett on strike. Plunkett’s single got Woakes facing again but he couldn’t manage a run and England needed ten off the last two balls.

The two then scrambled a three to leave them needing six off the last ball for a tie, and Plunkett connected sweetly.

The five-match series continues with another day-night clash at Edgbaston on Friday.

(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)

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