England v Sri Lanka 1st ODI abandoned

Sri Lanka’s monsoon season was the only winner in Dambulla as the first ODI was abandoned after just 15 overs of play. England had reached 92 for 2 after being asked to bat, but a heavy storm swept in and despite the entire playing surface being covered, the umpires eventually deemed a wet outfield unsuitable for a shortened game.

The groundstaff worked hard to mop up, with persistent rainfall having left several inches of standing water on the covers, however, after a delay of more than four-and-a-half hours, the captain shook hands on the decision to call things off.

“As much as we want to play, player safe is paramount,” Eoin Morgan said. “I think they made the right decision.”

The abandonment meant Olly Stone’s England debut amounted to little more than going through the warm-up and watching his team-mates bat. Stone was picked in the squad as cover for Liam Plunkett, whose wedding clashed with the first part of the tour, and he went straight into the side – but will now have to wait to make an impact.

After Sri Lanka had won the toss and chosen to bowl in the first ODI of five, newly instated captain Dinesh Chandimal said he was hoping for a “little bit of moisture in the wicket” to help his bowlers – but rather a lot of moisture was the eventual problem. Both teams will hope for better weather in Dambulla for the second game on Saturday.

Before the rain arrived, at around 3.40pm local time, England had made a steady start to their innings. The opening stand reached 49 at just over a run a ball when Jonny Bairstow got a thin edge behind off Nuwan Pradeep, and Jason Roy fell in the following over, skewing an ugly heave at Akila Dananjaya high towards mid-off.

The third-wicket pairing of Root and Morgan did not take too much time over consolidating, pushing the score on to 92 for 2 at the 15-over drinks break, but with dark clouds beginning to hove into view, the groundstaff made their move.

England had been short of match practice in the lead-up to the series, with their first warm-up match affected by rain and bad light and the second washed out entirely. After a second consecutive abandonment, only the top four of Roy, Bairstow, Morgan and Joe Root have had any competitive time in the middle.