Chris Woakes paved the way for victory and Joe Root delivered it with ease as England cruised to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international on Tuesday with 15 overs to spare.
Woakes had bowled just seven overs for the national team since he was named England’s player of the year in September, but it was his exemplary bowling that settled matters at Chester-le-Street.
He claimed 4-18 from his 10 overs, restricting the weakened tourists to a less-than-competitive 185 all out in 42.3 overs after England won the toss and chose to field.
Jonny Bairstow took 43 off the target in a frenzy of boundary-hitting at the top of the order and, after a brief wobble, Root saw the hosts across the line with 79 not out as England reached 189-5 in 34.5 overs.
After losing 3-0 to England in the T20 series, Sri Lanka went into the ODI opener weakened by the loss of senior players Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka.
Sri Lanka suspended the players and sent them home from its tour after they broke the squad’s anti-coronavirus rules by being pictured outside the team hotel.
Kusal Perera scored a hard-fought 73 and shared an accomplished stand of 99 with all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga for Sri Lanka. Hasaranga had been promoted up the order to No. 5 and responded with a typically enterprising 54.