After the first ODI was abandoned, England gave a good account of themselves with a solid all-round show in Dambulla. Eoin Morgan's 91-ball 92 along with Joe Root's 71 ensured the visitors posted a competitive 278 for 9 in their 50 overs despite Lasith Malinga's five-wicket haul.
Chris Woakes then struck early rattling Sri Lanka with three wickets upfront to reduce Sri Lanka to 74 for 5. Dhananjaya de Silva and Thisara Perera staged a brief comeback taking their side to 140 for 5 in 29 overs before the skies opened up to deny the home side any chances of a win.
The visitors ticked most boxes in the second ODI with the experienced hands in Morgan and Root leading the way with the bat while Woakes and debutant Olly Stone had the Sri Lankan batsmen in plenty of strife early.
Liam Dawson also had a good game picking up 1 for 26 in his six overs but a side strain has ended the left-armer's series after just one game with Joe Denly replacing him.
The one area of concern for England will be the performances of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid with both spinners going wicketless in the second ODI. While Ali conceded 47 runs in his 10-over spell, Rashid's two overs cost him 15 runs.
On the batting front as well Jason Roy will be keen to put on a better show after his four-ball duck while Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler will rue not converting their starts in the previous outing.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be pleased with the way Malinga bowled. The experienced pacer returned figures of 5 for 44 which included the key scalps of Roy and Morgan. His spell ensured England did not run away with the game in the first innings.
The spinners' efforts in the second ODI will give the hosts something to ponder upon though. Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan went for a combined tally of 1 for 123 in their 19 overs, something they will want to improve come Pallekele.
While the all-rounders have done more than a decent job as a whole, the top order needs to get their act together. The top three batsmen were all dismissed for single-digit scores and Sri Lanka just cannot afford against the No.1 ODI side in the world.
The surface is Pallekele is generally a good one for batting. Sri Lanka scored 306 the last they played an ODI here against South Africa and will look to repeat that performance one again.
First Published: October 17, 2018, 8:10 AM IST