With only a few matches this World Cup consisting of tense moments of high intensity, what we witnessed on Friday at Leeds was nothing less than a shocker.
A team regarded as one of the weakest in the competition managed to pull off a blinder and hoisted its colours over an opposition that was hard to beat.
The day set out like any other for the Islanders, and they were quick to lose two wickets in succession. Then came a thriving partnership between Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis, bringing their team to a comfortable position temporarily. A steady 85 by Angelo Matthews helped stabilize the Lankans, however, lazy efforts by batsmen coming next fetched them a score of only 233.
A menial score was supposed to be a cakewalk for England, considering the mockery they had made of the Afghani Bowling. But what we saw was the slow crumbling of their batting line-up, an attack instigated by the man himself – Lasith Malinga.
He managed to turn back the clock and offered us a glimpse of the legend he is with an excellent four-fer, dismissing batsmen with his unorthodox bowling easily.
However, with the mighty Stokes on the crease, England was only steps away from victory. The game could go in favour of any side, as the hosts were nine down already. Udana leaked fifteen runs in his over, and when Pradeep came on to bowl, he knew his team was one wicket away from victory. On the last ball of the 47th over, he bowled his length enough to have Mark Wood nick it to the keeper, ending proceedings for England with heartbreak all over his face.