England v Sri Lanka: Nat Sciver-Brunt’s sublime century secures ODI series win

England v Sri Lanka: Nat Sciver-Brunt's sublime century secures ODI series win

England 273-8 (31 overs): Sciver-Brunt 120 (74), Bouchier 95 (65); Dilhari 3-42
Sri Lanka 112 (24.5 overs): Perera 32 (24); Dean 5-31, Filer 3-30
England won by 161 runs, win series 2-0

Nat Sciver-Brunt scored England women’s fastest one-day international century as the hosts thrashed Sri Lanka by 161 runs to secure a 2-0 series victory.

Sciver-Brunt surpassed Charlotte Edwards’ 70-ball effort by reaching the milestone from 66 balls in Leicester.

In a rain-affected encounter, England posted an imposing 273-8 from their 31 overs, with Maia Bouchier adding 95.

Charlie Dean then took 5-31 and Lauren Filer claimed 3-30 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 112 off 24.5 overs.

After the hosts slipped to 18-2, Sciver-Brunt and Bouchier led an emphatic recovery by adding 193 together from just 121 balls – England’s highest ODI partnership against Sri Lanka.

Sciver-Brunt, standing in as captain in her 100th ODI in the absence of the unwell Heather Knight, smashed her third ODI century in her last four innings before falling for 120 off just 73 deliveries.

Sri Lanka buckled under the pressure of attempting to pull off their highest ODI chase, with England bouncing back strongly from their shock T20 series defeat.

Sublime Sciver-Brunt and Bouchier set up victory

England understandably rested Sciver-Brunt for the T20 series after a busy summer, but she left a clear void as England’s batters struggled, particularly against Sri Lanka’s spinners.

Sri Lanka’s bowling was poor here, the gulf in class between the sides in the longer format glaring, but Sciver-Brunt provided her team-mates with a masterclass in how to play spin.

Despite England being in early trouble, her century had an air of inevitability as she scored fluently from the off, striking ferocious pull shots off the back foot and glorious lofted straight drives.

Sciver-Brunt hit 18 fours and one six in her magnificent knock, beating former captain Edwards’ record set against New Zealand in 2012 with a nudge off her pads to also complete her eighth ODI century.

Bouchier, who brought up her maiden ODI fifty, impressively kept up with Sciver-Brunt’s scoring as she targeted her favourite area down the ground and walloped two huge sixes over mid-wicket.

She even had a chance of breaking the record Sciver-Brunt had set just minutes earlier, only to be pinned lbw by Kavisha Dilhari five runs short of a century from her 65th ball faced.

Still, the Southern Brave batter has laid down a marker for more permanent role in England’s top order in the absence of the resting Danni Wyatt and the injured Emma Lamb.

Middle-order batter Bess Heath, who can also keep wicket, made her England debut and she added a sprightly cameo of 21 from 14 balls.

Dean stars as Sri Lanka’s batting falters

Off-spinner Dean can often go under the radar, playing alongside the world’s best white-ball bowler in Sophie Ecclestone, but here she shone in the slow left-armer’s absence.

Sri Lanka’s task was always going to take something miraculous, and all their hopes lay on the shoulders of their captain Chamari Athapaththu.

Dean’s first two overs were expensive but the crucial scalp of Athapaththu, pinned lbw for 12, sparked a stunning spell that included three wickets in one over.

Sri Lanka’s reliance on Athapaththu can work for them in T20, as they proved in the 2-1 victory over England, but that rarely brings success in the 50-over format where teams’ skills are tested for longer.

Dean deceived the middle order with smart variations of pace, also extracting a hint of turn from the pitch to finish with her first international five-wicket haul.

Filer also continued to impress with her pace, while Mahika Gaur and Sarah Glenn chipped in with a wicket each.

Despite the heavy defeat, Sri Lanka will leave the tour in good spirits having shown massive improvements in T20s – achieving a result in that series few would have precited before the tour began.

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