England began their Champions Trophy campaign with a six-wicket triumph over Group B rivals Sri Lanka last night. Chasing Sri Lanka's 212 all out in 47.3 overs, England eased to 213 for four off 45 thanks to an unbeaten 62 in 83 balls from Eoin Morgan. "There is a lot to be pleased about and we can take a lot of confidence from the performance," the captain Andrew Strauss said. "We gave a pretty professional performance with the bat and if we play like that then we are a dangerous side. They took the game to the Sri Lankans and didn't allow their spinners to just bowl at us."
England slipped to 19 for two before Paul Collingwood launched a counter-attack, dominating a 63-run partnership with Owais Shah. Collingwood breezed to 46 off 51 balls with five fours and three sixes before chopping a delivery from fast bowler Lasith Malinga on to his stumps. His dismissal brought Morgan to the crease and he and Shah combined for a 76-run stand off 94 balls. Shah was then caught by keeper Kumar Sangakkara off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for a patient 44.
The left-handed Morgan went on to reach his half-century with his fifth boundary. "We did not pick up wickets quickly enough and the Collingwood-Shah partnership was important to England," said Sri Lanka skipper Sangakkara. "I thought Morgan understood his job very well and did the job required for his side. He played the anchor role that saw them through." Earlier, half-centuries from Thilina Kandamby and Angelo Mathews helped Sri Lanka post a competitive total after slumping to 17 for four after being put in to bat.
Kandamby top-scored with 53 before being run out while Mathews chipped in with 52 as the pair combined for a sixth-wicket stand of 82. Mathews was lucky on 51 when he appeared to have been run out after colliding with England seamer Graham Onions. Although he was initially given out, Strauss called the batsman back. Fast bowler James Anderson swung the new ball prodigiously, taking two for 11 in his opening seven overs before finishing with three for 20. All-rounder Stuart Broad also took three for 49.
The result leaves the group evenly poised with Sri Lanka, South Africa and England having won one game each. On Sunday, England play hosts South Africa in Centurion while Sri Lanka meet New Zealand in Johannesburg. * Reuters