Jos Buttler has plenty on his plate in his new role as England's limited-overs captain, meaning he has no plans to play Test cricket right now – whether opening the batting or otherwise.

Buttler has been appointed England's white-ball skipper following the retirement of long-term leader Eoin Morgan.

The superstar wicketkeeper-batsman was an obvious choice, having been a key performer under Morgan for several years.

Buttler's role in the Test set-up is less established, and the red-ball side are enjoying their own new era under the captain-coach combination of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

Big-hitting Buttler prides himself on being "positive and aggressive", as he told BBC Test Match Special on Friday. Those are qualities that would clearly work in Stokes' side, whose tactics Buttler described as "very similar" to the limited-overs approach of "taking the shackles off".

Debate around a Test return was perhaps inevitable then, but Kumar Sangakkara, Buttler's IPL coach with Rajasthan Royals, suggested he should be a candidate to bat at the top of the order, where England have had some difficulties.

Buttler was amused and bemused by the idea, saying with a smile: "I thought someone had written the wrong story, to be honest. I don't think there is much merit in that.

"Was it from Kumar? Maybe he was just plugging some Rajasthan Royals openers or something like that.

"It's been fantastic to watch the Test team over the last few weeks – I've thoroughly enjoyed tuning in as a fan; it's been incredible to watch.

"You're gripped to your seat to see what they're doing, and it's been brilliant. I've loved watching them, and I hope it continues."

Asked if he had a red ball in his bag, Buttler replied: "Not at the minute, no."

But while the white-ball skipper is happy to maintain a watching brief in Test cricket, he is keen to have the red-ball captain in his teams.

Stokes was named in England's ODI squad for the series against India, although he will not be involved in the Twenty20 international matches that follow a Test that started on Friday.

"I'm really keen for Ben to be involved in T20 cricket," Buttler said. "As with everyone, we're going to have to be careful with how we manage people's workloads.

"Ben's going to be incredibly busy. The first T20 starts after this game [the Test against India] is due to end. It's important we look after players.

"But in any format of the game, Ben is someone you want in your team."

Jos Buttler was appointed England's white-ball captain on Thursday and said he felt "inspired" by the team's achievements during Eoin Morgan's time at the helm.

Long-serving Morgan called a halt to his international career this week after a run of low scores, three years after leading England to Cricket World Cup glory.

England also reached a T20 World Cup final during Morgan's time as skipper, and it will be a tall order for 31-year-old Buttler to deliver such strong results.

Buttler, who recently finished a sensational Indian Premier League season with Rajasthan Royals, served as vice-captain to Morgan and was the obvious choice to step up.

Buttler saluted Morgan's "outstanding leadership over the past seven years" and said: "It has been the most memorable period for everyone involved. He has been an inspirational leader, and it has been fantastic to play under him. There are lots of things that I have learnt from him that I'll take into this role.

"It is a great honour to take over from Eoin, and the place he has left English white-ball cricket in is exciting, and I'm inspired for the challenges ahead.

"There is excellent strength in depth in the white-ball squads, and I'm looking forward to leading the teams out for the series that are coming up against India starting next week and later in July against South Africa.

"It is the greatest honour to captain your country, and when I have had the chance to step in the past, I have loved doing it. I can't wait to take this team forward."

Morgan had described Buttler as an "exceptional leader", and the new appointment was rubber-stamped by England and Wales Cricket Board interim chair Martin Darlow and interim chief executive Clare Connor, after managing director of men's cricket Rob Key made his recommendation.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler has skippered England in 14 previous matches but now has the role on a fixed basis. He has played 151 ODI games, hitting 4,120 runs at an average of 41.20, while scoring 2,140 runs in 88 T20I matches at an average of 34.51.

Key described Buttler as "the perfect choice", adding: "I had no hesitation in offering him the role. Jos has been part of our white-ball set-up for over a decade and was integral in the transformation of the way the team has played its attacking brand of cricket over the past seven years."

A T20 World Cup is coming up in October and November, and the 50-over World Cup takes place 12 months later.

Having chosen Ben Stokes as Test captain, then seen England race to a series victory over New Zealand, Key will hope Buttler has a similarly positive impact.

"He is in the form of his life and is showcasing his talent against the best players and teams in the world," Key said. "I believe the extra responsibility will take his game to a new level and inspire those around him. I'm looking forward to seeing him take us forward. He thoroughly deserves the opportunity."

Eoin Morgan signalled the end of an era for England's limited-overs team as he announced his international retirement on Tuesday.

Morgan, who started his career playing for Ireland, had captained the white-ball side for eight years.

In that time, England went to the 2016 World Twenty20 final and then overcame the pain of that narrow defeat by winning a dramatic 2019 Cricket World Cup final.

Morgan will "go down as one of the most influential figures not just in English cricket but in world cricket", according to Brendon McCullum, while Nasser Hussain lauded "our greatest ever white-ball captain" and Michael Atherton hailed his "white-ball dynasty".

But more than merely an outstanding leader - who is expected to be replaced in his role by Jos Buttler – Morgan has also been a brilliant player for England.

Indeed, there is scarcely a white-ball record Morgan does not have his fingerprints on, with his Test career lasting only 16 matches.

Despite playing 23 ODIs for Ireland between 2006 and 2009 before switching allegiances, no player has appeared in more matches for England in the format (225); the same is true of T20Is (115).

Perhaps it is no surprise then that Morgan leads England in runs in both formats – 6,957 in 50 overs and 2,458 in 20. In fact, only eight players of any nationality have scored more T20I runs.

Morgan has played with some of the sport's biggest hitters but can hold his own, too: his 220 ODI sixes (202 for England) include 17 in one match against Afghanistan at the 2019 World Cup, a record that stands to this day.

In the shortest format, he has hit 120 sixes – the most of any England star and the fourth-most overall.

A star in the field, too, Morgan has taken 46 catches in T20Is to lead England all internationals and rank joint-eighth across the board.

But Morgan will perhaps still be best remembered as the man organising the field as England scaled new heights – and he owns his fair share of records in that regard, too.

Morgan was captain for just over half of his ODI appearances (126), comfortably the most such outings of any England player, ahead of Alastair Cook (69).

It is unsurprisingly a similar story in the younger T20I format, with Morgan's 72 games as captain matching India's MS Dhoni for the record.

Morgan's sublime career is unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry, but this array of dominant records ensures that will remain the case.

England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan has created a "white-ball dynasty" but has chosen the right time to retire from international cricket.

That is the message from former England captain Michael Atherton, who was speaking after news circulated that Morgan is expected to announce his retirement on Tuesday.

Morgan has endured a tough spell with the bat in recent times, managing to pass 50 just once in his past eight ODI innings and failing to score in his last two outings against the Netherlands.

England have still won eight consecutive ODIs, their longest such winning streak since a sequence of the same length in 2017, but Morgan promised to step down when he was no longer contributing as a batter.

Vice-captain Jos Buttler appears poised to take the captaincy from Morgan, who has rejuvenated the white-ball fortunes of England since being appointed as skipper in 2014.

England won the Cricket World Cup in the 50-over format with a dramatic victory over New Zealand at Lord's in 2019, three years after reaching the World Twenty20 final.

Morgan's side also reached the T20 World Cup semi-finals in 2021, and Atherton believes the 35-year-old is making the right choice to step down with his legacy still intact.

"He created a one-day dynasty. Having taken over at a low point – the 2015 World Cup, which went badly – he decided it was time to change England's approach," Atherton told Sky Sports.

"For seven years, England have been as good at white-ball cricket as anybody. And that's the first time really you can say that about our one-day side.

"He will go down as one of England's most significant captains, but I think he has picked exactly the right time to go.

"He said the other day, 'I'm feeling old', and he told Middlesex he couldn't play two T20 games in succession. If you can't do that, how are you then going to captain in a World Cup when they come thick and fast?"

 

Morgan is set to retire as the all-time leading run-scorer for England in ODI and T20I cricket, with 6,957 and 2,458 runs respectively.

Having also played 23 ODIs for Ireland, his 225 ODIs and 115 T20s are England records for appearances, and Nasser Hussain says Matthew Mott's side will lose their greatest ever leader and a brilliant batter.

"I had an interview with Rob Key when Rob Key got the job, and I asked him about Eoin Morgan and the white-ball side," former England captain Hussain added.

"He said that one thing about Eoin Morgan is that he will always do what is best for the team. If he's not contributing to the team and if he feels him being out of the team is better for that team, then he will go. That will be the decision that Morgan is making.

"He has been short of form, short of fitness and there are other people now – there are so many white-ball batters who could be playing. 

"It's not the 10 players he is taking on the field with him, it's in the one he's leaving behind because he's in that spot, and Morgan will always think of that one.

"One thing for certain is that he has been our greatest ever white-ball captain. He's a World Cup-winning captain, and he is a superb player.

"He was the one that was reverse-sweeping, reverse-scooping and playing all of these funky shots. He was way ahead of his time both as a player and as a captain."

Rob Key has been named as the new managing director of England men's cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed Key's appointment on Sunday. He replaces Andrew Strauss, who took on the role on an interim basis following Ashley Giles' departure in February.

Key will have responsibility for the men's national teams and the performance pathways that lead into them. Additionally, he will also play a key role in the upcoming High Performance Review.

He will be under pressure to engineer a turnaround in the performance of the men's Test team, which is without a head coach, selector or captain after skipper Joe Root stepped down on Friday.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, a 1-0 loss in their recent tour of the West Indies making it four successive series defeats. The cancelled fifth Test from India's tour of England last year will be played in July with the tourists holding a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Key played 21 times for England across all formats. He will relinquish his role at Sky Sports to take on the task of transforming England's red-ball fortunes.

"It is an absolute honour to take up this role," Key said in a statement. "The chance to have an impact and make a difference is an opportunity given to very few and I will give it everything I have to try shape the next great era of English men's cricket.

"I have absolutely loved my time at Sky and I could never have imagined leaving were it not for this incredible opportunity. I'd like to personally thank Bryan Henderson and everyone in the team for their help and support."

While the Test team continues to struggle, England will defend the Cricket World Cup they won for the first time in 2019 next year in India and will look to claim the T20 World Cup crown in Australia this year having lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2021 tournament.

"Although at this current moment it has been a challenging time in English cricket, I also think it's as exciting a time as I can remember," Key added.

"With two of our teams near or at the top of the world rankings and an undoubted amount of talent in our game, I hope to try and bring everyone along for the ride, so we can all help take English men's cricket to new heights across all formats."

England are back in action in June with a three-Test series against reigning world Test champions New Zealand, which will take place alongside a limited-overs tour of the Netherlands.

India then return to complete their Test series before facing England in a three-match T20 and ODI series, with South Africa then touring the country for series in all three formats.

Graham Thorpe has been appointed as head coach of the Afghanistan national cricket team, less than two months after leaving his role with England.

Thorpe was assistant coach with England until early February when he was part of the post-Ashes exodus that also saw head coach Chris Silverwood and managing director Ashley Giles moved on after the 4-0 humbling by Australia.

The 52-year-old enjoyed an impressive playing career for his country, scoring 6,744 runs in 100 Test matches at an average of 44.66 with the bat before retiring in 2005.

A statement on the official Afghanistan Cricket Board's website on Tuesday confirmed the appointment, saying: "Former English middle-order batter Graham Thorpe has been named as the new head coach of our national men’s cricket team.

"He will step up into the role of head coach ahead of the upcoming international events of Afghanistan.

"After his tenure as a cricketer, Thorpe took to coaching roles at different levels, the biggest of them being the batting coach for the English National team from April 2011 to September 2019.

"He has worked with all the England players across international formats, completed six England Lions tours and 12 England senior men's tours.

"He has also worked as a lead batting coach with World Cup Winner England Team during the 2019 Cricket World Cup."

Thorpe's first games in charge will be close to home as Afghanistan are scheduled to tour Ireland in July and August.

Rohit Sharma enjoyed a brilliant start to life as India's ODI captain in a dominant six-wicket defeat of West Indies on Sunday.

Rohit was named skipper in December but only now, in the series opener in Ahmedabad, has he been able to lead his side due to a hamstring injury.

It was worth the wait, however, as India cruised to victory in their 1,000th ODI, aided by 60 runs from 51 balls from Rohit.

That knock, which included 10 fours and a six, set the tone for a straightforward chase after West Indies had been bowled out for 176.

Even that modest total required some heavy lifting from Jason Holder, whose 57 improved markedly on a woeful 7-79 start after the Windies skipper survived a scare.

Holder could have been the victim of a hat-trick ball from Yuzvendra Chahal (4-49), but his inside edge fell short of short leg.

Chahal's fellow spinner Washington Sundar – returning for his second ODI more than four years after his first – finished with 3-30 to help ensure a straightforward target for Rohit and Co.

An opening partnership of 84 with Ishan Kishan took any jeopardy out of the situation, as India comfortably made 178-4 in 28 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Holder reaches milestone in attempted rescue act...

A stunning spell from Chahal, whose four wickets took him to 103 in 60 ODIs (the fifth-fastest India bowler to 100), had West Indies in all sorts of trouble, but it also brought Holder out into the middle.

The captain led the way as the tourists belatedly showed some fight, making 57 to pass 2,000 ODI runs (2,011) and become the fifth West Indies player to reach that mark along with 100 wickets in this format. Holder has 141 ODI wickets but could not add to that tally.

But both innings belong to opposite number Rohit

There is little doubting Rohit's ability with the bat, and the opener's 60 took him past Sachin Tendulkar (1,573) onto 1,583 ODI runs against West Indies, with only Virat Kohli (now 2,243) scoring more for India.

The full-time captaincy role is a new one, however, and Rohit was just as impressive in that sense. Rewarded for putting his faith in the spinners, the skipper also had three successful reviews from three to account for Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran and Shamarh Brooks.

England and India will complete their interrupted Test series in July 2022, but Old Trafford will not stage the fifth match between the teams.

Concern over a rising number of cases of COVID-19 in the India camp caused the match to be called off on September 10.

Rather than being staged at Lancashire's home ground, however, the fixture has been switched to be played at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement: "The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID-19 cases inside the camp.

"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)."

The ECB cited "complexities in the schedule" that meant Old Trafford could not host the rescheduled match, pointing to "clashes with pre-planned events at the venue, which will leave insufficient time to prepare a Test pitch".

Those events have not been specified; however, rock band Foo Fighters are due to play a concert at the cricket stadium on June 25.

Old Trafford will still get a Test match next year, with the second match of England's series against South Africa being switched from Edgbaston to the Manchester venue, with that match due to start on August 25.

The start of the planned T20I and ODI series between England and India has been set back by six days due to the Test being planted in the diary, and the T20I games will get under way on July 7 at the Ageas Bowl.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said of the fixture shake-up: "We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far."

BCCI honorary secretary Mr Jay Shah said: "I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale."

Debutant Maheesh Theekshana produced a stunning performance with the ball to inspire Sri Lanka to a series-clinching ODI win over South Africa.

An unconvincing batting display saw Sri Lanka post a slightly disappointing total of 203-9 after the hosts won the toss for the third and final match.

However, that modest target proved well beyond the tourists, who were undone by Theekshana's off-spin in an innings interrupted by rain.

Theekshana took 4-37 as the Proteas were skittled for 125, ensuring Sri Lanka secured a 78-run victory in style.

Charith Asalanka, the top run-scorer in the series, was the sole Sri Lanka player to excel with the bat, scoring 47 off 71 deliveries.

Dhananjaya de Silva (31) did threaten to post a big score yet he failed to build on his encouraging start and Dushmantha Chameera added a quick 29 off 39 balls.

But the success of the South Africa spinners, with captain Keshav Maharaj taking 3-38 and George Linde (2-32) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2-31) also excelling, provided clear encouragement for Theekshana and the Sri Lanka attack.

They wasted no time in making inroads, reducing South Africa to 19-3 inside five overs. Janneman Malan (18) and Heinrich Klaasen (22) steadied the ship with a stand of 36 but Theekshana got Malan caught in the slips and then trapped Klaasen lbw either side of Wiaan Mulder (2) being bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga (2-32).

Linde (18) and Andile Phehlukwayo (17) mounted something of a recovery from 54-6, but it did not last, and it was Theekshana who had the final say when he drew an edge from Maharaj.

Theek tough

The selection of Theekshana proved inspirational and captain Dasun Shanaka heaped praise on the 21-year-old at the post-match presentation.

"Theekshana was our trump card," said the skipper. "He's more of a T20 bowler but I used him wisely in this match. He's a real prospect going forward."

Chameera's all-round impact

Theekshana, however, was not the man of the match. That honour went to Chameera, who along with Klaasen struck the most fours in a low-scoring contest, finding the rope three times.

He followed up his effort with the bat by taking 2-16, with the early dismissals of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen putting South Africa in a hole they never looked like escaping.

Janneman Malan's 121 and a Tabraiz Shamsi five-for led South Africa to a 67-run win by DLS in a rain-affected second ODI against Sri Lanka, levelling the three-match series in Colombo.

A downpour delayed the start and limited the contest to 47 overs, which became 41 in the second innings after more rain – Sri Lanka's target of 284 trimmed to 265.

But the Proteas were never in trouble. Despite missing injured captain Temba Bavuma and the rested Quinton de Kock, stand-in skipper Keshav Maharaj was quickly rewarded for his decision to bat first.

Opener Malan stuck around for three hours and 17 minutes, during which time he enjoyed stands of 96 for the second wicket with Reeza Hendricks (51) and 86 for the fourth with Heinrich Klaasen (43).

Dushmantha Chameera belatedly got Klaasen and Malan from consecutive deliveries, but by that point there were just 12 balls remaining, with South Africa finishing on 283-6.

Given Avishka Fernando had been the match-winner for Sri Lanka in the series opener, making at least 50 in a third consecutive ODI, it quickly became clear this would not be their day when he went early for eight to a much-improved Kagiso Rabada (2-16).

Charith Asalanka starred alongside Avishka in the previous match and only he truly threatened to make a fight of the chase, scoring 77 off 69 – including three sixes – either side of the rain delay.

Chamika Karunaratne's late flurry (36 off 23, two sixes) was then ended by Maharaj, and Shamsi tidied up the tail for career-best figures of 5-49, leaving Sri Lanka well short, all out for 197.

Patient approach pays off

Sri Lanka's pace bowling attack has been effective in preventing boundaries this year, giving up just 44 per cent of their total runs conceded through fours and sixes ahead of this match – the second-lowest proportion among Test-playing nations in 2021, behind Bangladesh (42 per cent). But this did not slow Malan, who hit only 10 of the 135 balls he faced to the boundary but ran 65 singles, perhaps explaining his struggles with cramp.

Rabada back to his best

A poor showing from the Proteas' premier fast bowler in the first ODI saw him give up 66 runs, tied for the third-most in his career in this format. Yet Rabada was back on song from the outset on Saturday. He took two wickets in a stunning fifth over, conceding only a single run and prompting a further lbw review.

Rabada's contribution was overshadowed by Shamsi's efforts, but the Proteas need their main man to fire, meaning an ankle sprain in the field provides some concern.

South Africa one-day captain Temba Bavuma has been ruled out for the remainder of the Proteas' ODI series in Sri Lanka with a fractured thumb.

The skipper suffered the freak injury during Wednesday's first ODI that, inspired by centurion Avishka Fernando, the hosts won by 14 runs.

Bavuma was inadvertently struck from a fielder's throw-in during the 26th over at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.

Persistent discomfort saw him retire hurt two overs later, with scans later revealing a fracture.

Bavuma will return to South Africa for further treatment, from which his recovery time will be determined.

Keshav Maharaj will deputise as captain for the second ODI of the three-match series on Saturday.

 

Avishka Fernando's third ODI century set Sri Lanka on course for a 14-run win in the opener of their three-match series against South Africa.

The Proteas were always fighting a losing battle in Colombo after allowing Sri Lanka to make 300-9 – their highest total in 50-over cricket in 2021.

Avishka (118) was the star with the bat, putting on 79 in a partnership with Dhananjaya de Silva (44) that was disrupted briefly by a rain delay, with better to come as he was joined in the middle by Charith Asalanka (72).

That stand of 97 for the fourth wicket put Sri Lanka in command, as a bowling attack led by Kagiso Rabada (2-66) struggled to keep them in check.

South Africa were no more than steady in reply and keenly felt the dismissal of Aiden Markram to an outstanding Wanindu Hasaranga catch after 96 runs, including four sixes.

Captain Temba Bavuma had already retired hurt after taking a blow to his hand, and Rassie van der Dussen's departure preceded some superb death bowling to see Sri Lanka comfortably over the line – the Proteas short of their target on 286-6.

Profitable partnership

With the exception of Keshav Maharaj, who gave up 30 runs in 10 overs for his most economical ODI return, South Africa's bowlers were really poor. But Avishka and Asalanka still had to capitalise and did exactly that with a vital partnership that scored at 8.19 an over.

Denied at the death

South Africa required 41 off 25 when Van der Dussen departed, yet they mustered only two more boundaries – both fours from Rabada in the final over when the chase was up. Hasaranga started well and finished strongly, too, slowing Heinrich Klaasen in giving up just three from the 47th over.

Nicholas Pooran has guided West Indies to a series-levelling One Day International victory despite a scare in the run chase against Australia in Bridgetown on Saturday.

Akeal Hosein (30-3) and Alzarri Joseph (39-3) were exceptional in reducing Australia to 45-6 before the tourists rallied to 187.

But the West Indies stumbled in their chase, slumping to 72-5 before Pooran (59* from 75) combined with Jason Holder (52) for a decisive 93-run sixth-wicket stand.

Player of the Match Pooran was crucially dropped by Moises Henriques off Adam Zampa on 26, before making his eighth ODI half-century.

Mitchell Starc, who finished with 26-3 from 10 overs, had dismissed Evin Lewis (1) and Darren Bravo (duck), before trapping Holder LBW but Pooran guided the hosts home.

Earlier, Australia struggled with the bat, with Hosein dismissing Henriques, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in an excellent spell.

Matthew Wade (36) and Adam Zampa (36) rallied for Australia, before an excellent late cameo from second-gamer Wes Agar (41 from 36).

POLLARD HAILS 'SCRATCHY' POORAN

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said allowing Australia to reach 187 was disappointing but hailed Pooran's determination after a "scratchy" knock.

"What was good this time around was the fight by the guys, Nicholas Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well," Pollard said.

"Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy tonight but sometimes that's what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory."

The West Indies avoided suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time since August 2019.

Pooran's innings also took him past 1,000 ODI runs, becoming the 39th West Indian player to achieve the feat and the joint-third fastest for the side (Viv Richards – 21, Gordon Greenidge – 23, Ramnaresh Sarwan – 27).

AUSSIES STILL BULLISH AHEAD OF DECIDER

Australia are unbeaten in their past six ODI bilateral series (W4, D2) against West Indies and missed out on the opportunity to seal another victory but Carey remained bullish ahead of Monday's decider.

"Bring on game three," Carey said. "The batting group has a bit to prove to get a good score on the board for our quicks but our quicks and spinners are doing a great job."

The stand-in skipper bemoaned Australia's top-order batting, with none of the top six scoring more than 16.

"Obviously it doesn't help when you're five for not-a-lot," he said. "Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total and we were back in the game.

"We took some early wickets again and the belief was there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in the back end. Unfortunately we couldn't quite close it out and it proved we were 20 or 30 short."

Sri Lanka claimed a much-needed victory in the third and final match of the ODI series against India, chasing down a revised target of 227 with three wickets to spare in Colombo.

Opener Avishka Fernando made 76 and, despite a late wobble, Sri Lanka sealed just their second victory in 11 completed 50-over fixtures, with this their first success since beating Bangladesh in late May.

A much-changed India had reached 147-3 before a lengthy rain break changed the complexion of the innings. Following the resumption, they lost their final seven wickets for 68 runs to be bowled out for 225.

Prithvi Shaw (49), debutant Sanju Samson (46) and Suryakumar Yadav (40) all made useful contributions, while Akila Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama claimed three wickets apiece for the hosts.

Sri Lanka's reply included a maiden half-century in the one-day format for Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who reached the milestone with successive boundaries during a second-wicket partnership worth 109.

Krishnappa Gowtham - another new name included in the India XI - eventually ended the stand, dismissing Rajapaksa for 65 in his opening over, while the impressive Fernando departed for 76 with victory in sight.

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka had departed for a first-ball duck too, but Ramesh Mendis' unbeaten 15 saw the hosts across the line with 48 balls remaining.


Fresh faces for India

India had the chance to equal their record for most consecutive ODI victories against Sri Lanka, having gone into the contest on a five-match winning streak. However, a side featuring no fewer than five debutants was unable to seal a sweep.

Still, wicketkeeper-batsman Samson impressed in a run-a-ball innings that included five fours and a six, while fellow new faces Chetan Sakariya and Rahul Chahar both claimed two wickets.

Moving on up

This result was timely for Sri Lanka – and not just because of their recent wretched run of form in the white-ball format.

They sat second from bottom in the ICC's Cricket World Cup Super League prior to the game, with only Zimbabwe below them in the standings. This win lifts them one place, above the Netherlands, as they battle to qualify for the 2023 50-over tournament, which will be held in India.

Deepak Chahar was India's unlikely batting hero as his 69 not out inspired a thrilling ODI series-clinching win over Sri Lanka by three wickets.

India coasted to victory with 80 balls to spare in the first match of the three-game rubber in Colombo but they were left with a tall task when a magical leg-spin display from Wanindu Hasaranga (3-37) left them 193-7 after 35.1 overs in pursuit of 275-9.

Chahar, who has a highest first-class score of 57 not out, rode his luck at times and found a willing ally in fellow tailender Bhuveneshwar Kumar (19 not out), before swiping the winning runs through midwicket off Kasun Rajitha from the first ball of the final over.

Chahar also took 2-53 with the ball and began in a more customary new-ball partnership with Kumar, although the first-wicket stand had reached 77 by the time leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-50) had Minod Bhanuka held at midwicket for 36.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa was then caught behind first ball off a Chahal top-spinner, although patient half-centuries by opener Aviskha Fernando (50) and Charith Asalanka (65) – both dismissed by Kumar (3-54) – were the foundations of a solid Sri Lanka innings. Chamika Karunaratne provided some welcome late acceleration with 44 not out from 33 balls.

Hasaranga bowled the dangerous Prithvi Shaw with a googly and trapped stand-in India skipper Shikhar Dhawan lbw for 29, Ishan Kishan having dragged on a Rajitha long-hop.

Manish Pandey was unfortunate to be run out for 37 when Dasun Shanaka tipped a shot back down the ground onto the stumps from Suryakumar, who looked like playing a decisive hand before bring trapped lbw by Lakshan Sandakan for 53.

Sri Lanka captain Shanaka also removed the dangerous Hardik Pandya for nought, with his brother Krunal bowled by a beauty from Hasaranga to clear the way for Chahar to set up a grandstand finish.

Chahar in dreamland

India are now undefeated in their past 12 ODI series against Sri Lanka, winning 10, but they were left in the unusual position of needing a significant lower-order contribution. Chahar's undefeated 69 is the second-highest score by anyone in this format for his country batting at number eight or lower.

"Only one thing was going on in my mind: this is the kind of innings I've been dreaming of," he beamed while being named player of the match.

Sri Lanka fail to match Hasaranga heroics

Hasaranga dearly deserved to finish on the winning side, but the difference between his efforts and those of Sri Lanka's other frontline bowlers was significant. The wrist-spinner's economy rate of 3.7 was not backed up by Rajitha (7.4), Sandakan (7.1) or Dushmantha Chameera (6.5), who went wicketless in his 10 overs. Shanaka contributed 1-10 from his three overs, leaving himself curiously under-bowled.

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