LONDON - Thisara Perera starred with the bat and ball as Sri Lanka gained revenge for their World Twenty20 defeat by England with a nine-run win at The Oval yesterday.
Man of the match Perera made a rapid 49 in World T20 champions Sri Lanka's 7-183 and then captured the important wicket of England captain Eoin Morgan.
On their way to winning this year's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka suffered a six-wicket loss to England in the group stage in March.
That match saw Alex Hales become the first England batsman to score a Twenty20 international hundred.
But in this floodlit T20 his 66, albeit off 41 balls with seven fours and two sixes, was not enough to take England to victory.
Dropped catches cost England in an innings where Sri Lanka, led by Perera, smashed 75 off the last six overs.
"It was a good batting track and we gave ourselves a good target to bowl at," Perera said.
Morgan, leading the side in the absence of the injured Stuart Broad, bemoaned his side's fielding lapses while paying tribute to Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga, who justified his reputation as the world's leading T20 bowler with three for 28.
"It is devastating to lose — in the first 15 overs we bowled well and fielded well but in the final five overs it fell away," said Morgan.
England saw opener Michael Carberry, making his T20 international debut, Ian Bell, playing his first match at this level for three years, Joe Root and Morgan all fall cheaply as Hales looked on from the other end.
The big-hitting Nottinghamshire opener kept going until he was clean bowled by "slingshot" seamer Malinga, hitting across the line, England were then 139 for six in the 17th over.
And a target of 24 off the last over, bowled by Suranga Lakmal, proved too much for Ravi Bopara, who finished on 28 not out.
England and Sri Lanka return to The Oval tomorrow for the first of five one-day internationals, with the teams also playing a two-Test series in June.