6th over: Sri Lanka 67-1 (Atapaththu 47, Samarawickrama 13) Dean continues and Atapaththu feels like hitting another six, so the ball disappears over the sightscreen. She lets Dean have a few dots, then hits a cut for four and a lofted flick for four more. Here endeth the Powerplay, with SL storming towards their first T20 win over England.
5th over: Sri Lanka 53-1 (Atapaththu 33, Samarawickrama 13) Cross is off too after that four-ball nightmare. Issy Wong takes over but she, like Gibson, has some trouble with the front crease. She bowls three no-balls, plus a wide, but keeps smiling and manages four dots along the way. One of the free hits produces what would have been a great catch by Kate Cross at mid-off, plucking the ball out of the air, as John Arlott would have said, like a woman taking a can of beans off the top shelf in the supermarket.
4th over: Sri Lanka 41-1 (Atapaththu 31, Samarawickrama 7) Heather Knight reacts to this erratic start by taking Gibson off and turning to spin, which did all the damage earlier. On comes Charlie Dean, the only Englishwoman having a good day so far. She puts the plug in for the first five balls, going for just a single, but then Atapaththu swings her over square leg for a four that is only about three inches short of a six.
3rd over: Sri Lanka 36-1 (Atapaththu 27, Samarawickrama 6) A Sky graphic shows Cross hitting a good line and length in her first over. Not in her second: she goes full and wide, then full and straight, then short and straight, then short and straight again. Atapaththu says thank you very much – four, four, four, six! She has 27 off 12 balls, and, just like in the first innings, she is running the show.
2nd over: Sri Lanka 15-1 (Atapaththu 7, Samarawickrama 4) Danni Gibson’s first over was a right old mixed bag, featuring two no-balls and a dropped catch (also by Dean) off one of the free hits. But it worked as Sanjeewani, not knowing what was coming next, holed out.
An early breakthrough! Sanjeewani, who kept so well earlier, picks the wrong ball from Gibson to attack and chips a catch to Dean at mid-on.
1st over: Sri Lanka 6-0 (Atapaththu 6, Sanjeewani 0) It’s Kate Cross to open the bowling, although the crowd may not all be aware of it as the back of her shirt is blank. She is the fastest bowler we’ve seen today, but Atapaththu’s not bothered – she sees a full ball and plonks it over mid-on for four. She gets two more, less impressively, from a Harrow drive.
Chamari Atapaththu did everything right in that innings. She set the tone with the first wicket, rang the changes, used six bowlers and saw them all take wickets. Now she just has to lead the run chase.
England’s resistance comes to an end as Prabodhani produces an inswinging yorker. That is England’s lowest total ever against Sri Lanka in a T20 – and it would have been far worse had it not been for Charlie Dean’s controlled aggression. Can Sri Lanka bat as well as they bowled! For the sake of the series, and the game, let’s hope so.
Issy Wong clears the front leg again, but doesn’t make contact. Still, she’s given England’s bowlers, including herself, something to play with.
17th over: England 98-8 (Dean 29, Wong 13) Not content with her first run, Wong has her first four! And it’s a belter, as she clears the front leg and blasts a straight drive past the umpire’s head. This partnership is now a priceless 32.
16th over: England 89-8 (Dean 27, Wong 5) A few singles off Fernando. With one of them, a hard-hit cut to the sweeper, Wong makes sure that England avoid one form of ignominy by taking them past their lowest total in T20 internationals (87).
15th over: England 84-8 (Dean 24, Wong 4) Atapaththu pushes the plug in with an over that goes for just two singles. But England are hanging in there, and it’s not just Dean – Issy Wong, playing in her 10th T20 international, has hit her first run! Before today, she had batted once and been out for a duck, second ball.
14th over: England 82-8 (Dean 23, Wong 3) Hang on, Charlie Dean is on manoeuvres. Facing Ranaweera, she sweeps for four, twice in a row, and then gets a full toss which she cover-drives for four more. The fightback has begun!
13th over: England 67-8 (Dean 10, Wong 1) Usually in an innings like this, you get a backlash, or at least a thrash of the tail. We’re still waiting for it.
Yet another! An arm ball from Dilhari and Glenn can only glide it into the gloves of Sanjeewani.
12th over: England 65-7 (Dean 8) Dean had just survived a run-out chance, so there might have been a case for taking the foot off the pedal for a couple of overs. But it is, of course, easy to say that.
What a catch! Gibson plays a reverse sweep and Ranaweera, at short third, swoops to her left to make a difficult chance look easy.
11th over: England 58-6 (Gibson 6, Dean 5) Almost another caught-and-bowled! Gibson chipped it back to Kumari, who let it squirt off the heel of her hand. Nobody was very sure if it was a bump ball, but the replay said no. Just before that, Gibson had survived an appeal and review for LBW, missing a sweep. It’s all happening.
10th over: England 51-6 (Gibson 2, Dean 2) At the halfway stage, England’s main aim is to make it through to 20 overs. And get past their all-time low, which is 87 all out against Australia in 2015.
Sri Lanka have never beaten England in a T20 international. They must now be hot favourites to break that duck.
Not any more! Caught in two minds, Knight chops the ball straight back to Ranaweera. The collapse continues.
9th over: England 48-5 (Knight 14, Gibson 1) So Dilhari becomes the firth bowler to take a wicket in 40 minutes, and it’s all down to Knight.
Wow! This is a gorgeous piece of glovework from Anushka Sanjeewani, who was well down the leg side when she gathered the ball, but somehow improvised a little dance routine to see off Freya Kemp. Magic.
8th over: England 42-4 (Knight 12, Kemp 1) Until then, that had been a better over for England. Atapaththu turned to her fifth bowler and second slow left-armer, Inoka Ranaweera. Jones shuffled across to off stump and played a slog-sweep, almost a chip, over square leg for four. But then came the wicket, and now England need Heather Knight to play one hell of a captain’s innings.
And another! This wasn’t given by the umpire, and Sri Lanka only reviewed at the last second. But it was adjacent to leg stump, Jones was deep in the crease, and up come the three reds.
7th over: England 35-3 (Knight 11, Jones 7) Just three singles off the over from Atapaththu, who has one for nine off her two overs. She has also rung the changes craftily and put Sri Lanka well on top.
Knight, facing her opposite number Atapaththu, misses a reverse sweep and gets hit amidships as they say on the radio. Up goes the finger, but she reviews immediately and she’s right – saved by the glove.
6th over: England 32-3 (Knight 10, Jones 5) Yet another bowling change as Prabhodani returns for a second over. There are a few dots, a couple of singles and then Knight cuts for four. While being very poor in terms of wickets, England have actually been good at putting the bad ball away.
5th over: England 25-3 (Knight 5, Jones 4) Amy Jones, like Knight, wastes no time getting off the mark, slapping her second ball past short third for four. But then she tries a reverse sweep and it only lands just in front of the same fielder. I wonder if that will be a turning point. Anyway, great stuff from Fernando who has figures of 2-0-5-1.
One brings three! Bouchier perishes the same way as Capsey, with a clonk into the ring, just a bit further round towards cover. What is going off out there?
4th over: England 21-2 (Bouchier 12, Knight 5) Success for Kumari, the fourth bowler used in four overs, and England are wobbling. But here’s Heather Knight, getting down to business straight away with a cut for four.
And another! Fernando gets Capsey after all, catching her at mid-off as the frustrations of the previous over spill out in a lofted drive that is not lofted enough.
3rd over: England 13-1 (Bouchier 10, Capsey 2) One off-spinner replaces another as Atapaththu takes herself off, job done, and brings on Inoshi Fernando. She finds some flight and drift, keeps Alice Capsey on strike, and allows her only a single off the last ball.
2nd over: England 12-1 (Bouchier 10, Capsey 1) At the other end it’s Udeshika Prabodhani with her left-arm seam. She starts well too, conceding only two singles off the first five balls, but then Bouchier uses her feet to bludgeon another four through the covers.
1st over: England 6-1 (Bouchier 5, Capsey 0) Atapaththu had kept Wyatt quiet (dot, dot, one), then dropped a touch short to Maya Bouchier, who collected the first boundary of the day with a well-placed cut. But that over was all about the last ball, with the Sri Lankan captain getting shot of a dangerwoman.
The breakthrough! Atapaththu lures Wyatt into a big drive that connects with thin air as the ball turns gently through the gate.
The players take the field, flanked by flames. The Sri Lankans have a spring in their step, as if they feel this will be the day when they finally beat England in a T20.
England 1 Maia Bouchier, 2 Danni Wyatt, 3 Alice Capsey, 4 Freya Kemp, 5 Heather Knight (capt), 6 Amy Jones (wkt), 7 Danielle Gibson, 8 Sarah Glenn, 9 Charlie Dean, 10 Kate Cross, 11 Issy Wong.
Sri Lanka 1 Vishmi Gunaratne, 2 Chamari Atapaththu (capt), 3 Hasini Perera, 4 Nilakshi de Silva, 5 Harshitha Samarwickrama, 6 Kavisha Dilhari, 7 Anushka Sanjeewani (wkt), 8 Inoka Ranaweera, 9 Sugandika Kumari, 10 Udeshika Prabodhani, 11 Inoshi Fernando.
For England, Mahika Gaur is rested, as the crowd feared. Well, she did have to bowl two whole overs the other night … but maybe it’s more a case of mental tiredness, or just the urge to rotate the quicks. The good news is that Issy Wong gets a go with the new ball.
Sri Lanka make one change too, calling up a spinner, Inoshi Fernando, in place of a seamer, Kawya Kavindi.
Chamari Atapaththu calls heads, it is, and she opts to chase. Heather Knight says she wanted to bat first anyway, so one coin has made two people happy.
Afternoon everyone and welcome to the OBO. Another day, another T20 international. No sooner have England’s men dismantled New Zealand than England’s women get the chance to wrap up a series against Sri Lanka.
For Heather Knight and her youngish team, the omens are good: the Sri Lankans have never beaten England in a T20 game. In 12 meetings, the best they’ve managed is to escape twice with a no-result, which doesn’t look very likely today as Chelmsford is due to be dry with sunny spells. The weather was most inhospitable at Hove on Thursday, reducing the chase to just six overs and expecting the Sri Lankans to come out after the rain and make 45 off 17 balls.
For England, the game was a breeze. The players finally collected the same match fee as the men, £3500 apiece, and they earned it. The new-look top order slotted straight into place with every batter getting a start.
The new fast bowler, Mahika Gaur, brought her distinctive blend of pace, bounce, skill and know-how. At 17 she already has international experience with UAE and it showed as she resumed an over after the rain, got hit for six, retorted with a bouncer and then grabbed the big scalp by having Chamari Athapaththu caught behind. England may prefer to rest Gaur today, but the Chelmsford crowd would surely love to see her.
Play starts at 2.30pm BST, and I’ll be back with news of the toss soon after 2.