England say 'congested' schedule reason behind Sri Lanka tour during monsoon season

Joe Denly soaks up the applause

"We have talked a lot about it, and the captain and senior players have decided that from this series we should try and let players get used to their roles", he added.

Roy and Morgan took some of the sting out of the situation with a calming stand of 46, during which the required rate dropped to less than six an over. They couldn't just plunder vast scores on flawless batting surfaces; they had to learn to win when the ball spun or seamed or even stopped.

The message read: 'In respect of touring Sri Lanka at this time of year: The Future Tours Programme is congested involving 13 Boards whose schedules all interconnect, so there are unfortunately a number of tours that have to take place outside prime match-staging periods.

In that respect, this soggy series may yet prove a valuable learning experience.

Sri Lanka, the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996 champions, have been going through a poor patch in ODI cricket. I have been asked to play out the first 15-20 balls and then to go for my shots. Dickwella hit eight boundaries.

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"Sri Lanka came out fighting with the bat earlier on, knocked us back a little bit but three of our bowlers were outstanding today, he said". Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root fell cheaply in England's chase but Roy struck two sixes as he raced to 41 off 26 balls before Morgan and Stokes comfortably steered England to their target.

Sri Lanka had started the match brightly. The next 16 overs realised only 95 runs and nine wickets as they lost their way against a disciplined England side that showed fine control of their variations with the ball and continued to field well despite the slippery conditions.

However, England skipper Eion Morgan won the toss and elected to bowl first.

England's preparations for the series were also rain-affected, with a DLS finish to their first warm-up match and the second called off without a ball bowled at Colombo's P Sara Stadium. Morgan made 58 not out off 49 deliveries including seven boundaries while Jason Roy made 41.

Rashid hit Sri Lanka hard with the wickets of Samarawickrama and Thisara Perera for nought in consecutive deliveries to be on a hat-trick.

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