Key events

12th over: Sri Lanka 89-3 (Pathum 50, Bhanuka 2) Spin doing the business here for England after Sri Lanka’s initial onslaught. Five off Livingstone as Pathum moves to a superb fifty- off just 33 balls.

11th over: Sri Lanka 84-3 (Pathum 47, Bhanuka 0) Great stuff from Stokes –thudding the ball into the pitch, just three squeezed runs and a wicket.

“Morning Tanya.” Hello Simon McMahon! “Whatever happens on the field, the Sri Lankan fans are having an absolute ball by the looks of it. All sorts of face paints, fancy dress, brass bands and drums in the stands. Tremendous stuff. Let’s hope the game matches it.”

So true, much joy all round. And the Sydney sky is now flamed orange. If you’re there, I’m insanely jealous.

WICKET! Charith c Malan b Stokes 8 (Sri Lanka 84-3)

Ben Stokes slams the ball into the dirt and Charith top-edges to a calm-as-you-like Malan.

10th over: Sri Lanka 78-2 (Pathum 45, Charith 4) And eventually the over continues, as it began, with a single off every ball from Moeen Ali’s first over – except the last. And at half way, Sri Lanka’s momentum has slowed but they’re still in a tasty position.

9.3 overs over: Sri Lanka 78-2 (Pathum 45, Charith 4) The ball watching Sri Lankans escape a run-out but not injury as they collide mid-pitch in their haste. The Docs come out and while the batters are patched up, they take DRINKS.

9th over: Sri Lanka 75-2 (Pathum 44, Charith 2) – another wicket for Sam Curran in what has been an excellent World Cup – he’s the second highest wicket-taker. A wicket pocketed, and just four from the over.

Apologies for being slow on the email front. Tom VD Gucht writes:

“Everyone seems to talk about how England just need to do enough to win. From my experience, that’s fraught with danger. I remember an essay at uni only having a pass or fail grade – the pass mark was a measly 40%, so I phoned in the work thinking I’d do just enough rather than slaving away when there were no 2:1’s or even Desmonds on offer. Sadly, I underestimated what 40% should look like and ended up scraping through under the pass mark – spending my Easter holidays rewriting the damned thing. I worry that England might do the same and get bogged down before blowing it with a flurry of wickets when chasing a small score.”

WICKET! Dhananjaya c Stokes b Curran ( Sri Lanka 72-2)

Dhananjaya goes for one more whallop but hasn’t got the welly to cross the rope on the short side and Stokes does well, catching it sideways, keeping his feet just the right side of the boundary.

8th over: Sri Lanka 71-1 (Pathum 43, Dhananjaya 9) Rashid is again able to strangle the scoring – six off the over.

7th over: Sri Lanka 65-1 (Pathum 41, Dhananjaya 4) Fresh from his fielding triumph, Liam Livingstone takes the ball. All is, relatively, calm for England until the last ball, which Pathan slops over that short boundary and Chris Woakes for Six

I think the answer to this is: magic team alchemy

Remind me what Stokes is being picked on, apart from vibes @tjaldred? He’s obviously a great cricketer, but bar the odd wicket, I still don’t see how he’s better than Curran, Livingstone or Mo. He seems almost a mascot, there for dressing room inspiration.

— Guy Hornsby (@GuyHornsby) November 5, 2022

6th over: Sri Lanka 54-1 (Pathum 32, Dhananjaya 2) Relief for England as Buttler turns to Adil Rashid and he immediately asserts some control. Just two singles from it. And Mark Wood is back on the field.

5th over: Sri Lanka 52-1 (Pathum 31, Dhananjaya 1) Thirteen from Sam Curran’s first over, as Pathum springs onwards, unperturbed by the loss of his opening partner: a top edge over his head for four and another six, just, over the stretching Brook, slamming into the boundary.

4th over: Sri Lanka 39-1 (Pathum 20, Dhananjaya 0 ) – Mark Wood runs off the field after that eventful over – hopefully something and nothing. And the boundary haul continues as Mendis whips Woakes square for four more. Woakes respond with a wide soaring over Mendis’ head, then the breakthrough – spectacular acrobatics by Livingstone, and England needed that.

WICKET! Mendis c Livingstone b Woakes 18 (Sri Lanka 39-1)

As Mendis pulls…. a spectacular catch by Liam Livingstone, sprinting round the boundary edge, sliding on his knees and holding on with both hands. A furious Mendis stalks off. Woakes double fist pumps.

3rd over: Sri Lanka 32-0 (Pathum 18, Mendis 13) Mark Wood, the fastest bowler in the tournament, flashes in. Mendis doesn’t bother with watchful waiting and shimmy-slams a whopper, landing rows back in the stands. Two people pose dressed as slices of water melon. Wood falls over in his follow through then Mendis picks up three more over midwicket. An an upper cut for six to finish! Just over the leaping Liam Livingstone’s head. Nissanka grins.

2nd over: Sri Lanka 15-0 (Pathum 11, Mendis 3) The camera pans up, out of the stadium, and we see the sun flaming on the horizon. It’s Chris Woakes with the ball, he needs, the stats flash up, just three wickets for 150 T20 wickets. No boundaries but some smart running from Sri Lanka and an excellent dive by Alex Hales on the edge of the circle.

An email, good morning Daniel Rickard!

“I haven’t been paying much attention to this competition, other than looking at the results, but we’re basically knock out stages now so I’m all in…

The trouble is, when you haven’t been doing the build up with the wife and kids (2 of the 3 are football only, no cricket) it’s hard for me and my eldest to just down tools for the whole morning out of the blue.

I’m sure everyone else will be fine. Come on England!!!”


1st over: Sri Lanka 9-0 (Pathum 8, Mendis 1) Ben Stokes’ first ball passes safely by but Pathum pulls the second effortlessly over the short boundary for six – at just 62 metres long, it will have batters salivating this evening.

Here come the players, Pathum Nissanka to take strike. The cameras pan round the SCG – it isn’t full but there’s a fair number. And my dog barks with immaculate timing because she refuses to squeeze through the back door left ajar and needs it opened for her.

England, arms round each others shoulders, line up for the National Anthem. Some belt it out, others – Jos Buttler – prefer the letterbox mouth method. And here is Sri Lanka’s jaunty tune, arms this time strictly down by their sides.

The SCG is sooo pretty, just gazing at that gorgeous green roof in the late afternoon sun. Do send me any thoughts by the way, just making a last-minute cup of coffee. Back in five.

And while you put the kettle on before play starts, this is a fantastic read:

Something to gee Sri Lanka up – teams batting first have won all five games at the SCG in this World Cup. But, on the other hand, none of the Sri Lankan team have beaten England in an international T20.


England are unchanged again, Sri Lanka make one switch, Karunaratne for Pramod Madushan.

England XI: Alex Hales, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.

Sri Lankan XI: :Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka , Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara.

Sri Lanka win the toss and will bat

Jos Buttler and Dasun Shanaka shake hands – and Buttler says he would have batted first as well on a used pitch.

It’s a chilly old morning here in Manchester, but the crowds are gathering at the SCG where England can’t expect much in the way of support from the Australian fans. Australia are out in their own backyard unless Sri Lanka can pull off a surprise. And rain, incidentally, is not England’s friend.


Good morning! Well here we are, after three weeks of going round the houses, it is crunch time. England and Sri Lanka meet at Sydney in a match that will decide who will hot-foot it to the semi-finals . Throw away the calculator -if England win, they are through , after Australia failed to beat Afghanistan by enough to bring run-rate into the equation. If Sri Lanka win, Australia will join New Zealand as Group One’s travellers to the knock-out stages.

England are buoyant, fresh from their must-win victory over New Zealand, even without this man, busy presenting shirts back home.

Sri Lanka can go no further in the tournament, but Chris Silverwood’s side are more than capable of making life uncomfortable for England on a used Sydney track with a sausage factory of spinners up their sleeve. They haven’t beaten England since 2014, but their autumn Asia Cup win shows they have recent history of pulling off an upset.

Play starts at 8am GMT, the weather is set fair. See you there!

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