Jos Buttler hits fifty as England hammer Sri Lanka in T20 series opener

England romped to an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first T20 international of their three-match series in Cardiff on Wednesday night.

Restricting Sri Lanka to a well-below-par score of 129-7 when getting first use of the Sophia Gardens surface, England then chased down their total with 17 balls to spare, with Jos Buttler firing an unbeaten 68 off 55 balls.

Buttler and Jason Roy (36 off 22) raced through to a fifty stand inside five overs, blasting 61 from the opening powerplay. Sri Lanka, by comparison, were only 39-2 after their first six.

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Roy departed in the 10th over, with Danushka Gunathilaka pulling off a stunning catch at mid-off, but Buttler bought up his fifty in the 12th and steered the hosts through to a comfortable victory.

Adil Rashid was the pick of the England bowlers, taking 2-17 from his four overs. Sam Curran (2-25) too picked up a couple, while Chris Woakes (0-14) proved particularly tough to get away in his first T20 international for six years.

After winning the toss and opting to bat first, Sri Lanka lost opener Avishka Fernando for a duck in the second over, plinking Curran to mid-off, where Chris Jordan claimed the first of three catches for the innings.

Gunathilaka (19) cracked Mark Wood for back-to-back boundaries in the fourth over, only to depart in the fifth, skying an attempted ramp off Jordan behind to Buttler.

The tourists put up little fight for the remainder of their innings; Liam Livingstone (1-9) trapped Kusal Mendis (9) lbw, Wood (1-33) picked up Dhananjaya de Silva (3) caught at third man, while Rashid claimed Sri Lanka captain Kusal Perera (30) and Wanindu Hasaranga (5) in consecutive overs.

Dasun Shanaka (50 off 44) put some respectability on Sri Lanka’s score with some lusty late blows, bringing up his half century in the final over before top-edging Curran’s last ball behind.

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In reply, Buttler and Roy were in no mood to hang around. Roy cracked four fours and cleared the rope once, swinging Nuwan Pradeep away over deep midwicket. Buttler, meanwhile, found the boundary eight times and hammered Akila Dananjaya for a glorious straight six down the ground shortly before bringing up his 13th T20I fifty.

After Roy fell to Gunathilaka’s superb diving grab, Dawid Malan (7) contrastingly looked far from comfortable during his 14-ball stay at the crease before being bowled by Isuru Udana.

But England were never in danger of stuttering over the finish line; Jonny Bairstow (13no off 12) smashed Dananjaya for a big six over deep midwicket a ball before Buttler was dropped by Perera, allowing him to scamper through for the winning run.

Watch the second T20 International between England and Sri Lanka, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm on Thursday.

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