|ICC Women’s World Cup, Taunton:|
|Sri Lanka 204-8 (50 overs): Perera 46, Kanchana 34 not out, Marsh 4-54|
|England 206-3 (30.2 overs): Knight 82, Taylor 74 not out|
|England won by seven wickets|
England eased to their second win of the Women’s World Cup with a routine seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.
Wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor (74 not out) struck her first half-century since she returned to cricket following a break from the game with anxiety issues.
Taylor shared a third-wicket stand of 148 with captain Heather Knight (82) as England reached their target with nearly 20 overs to spare at Taunton.
Sri Lanka had been restricted to 204-8 as spinner Laura Marsh took 4-54.
Elsewhere in the tournament, West Indies were bowled out for 48 at Leicester as South Africa romped to a 10-wicket win in only 38 deliveries, while unbeaten Australia beat New Zealand by five wickets at Bristol and India beat Pakistan by 95 runs in front of a sell-out crowd at Derby.
Taylor back to her best
Debilitating panic attacks had forced Taylor to take an enforced absence from cricket in June 2016 before she returned to full training with England in April.
The 28-year-old was back to her best with the gloves and the bat at Taunton as she played a key role in England’s victory.
Taylor claimed two catches – one a particularly sharp chance off Natalie Sciver while standing up to the stumps – but it was her conviction with the bat which particularly impressed.
The England number three struck 11 fours – the last of which secured the win as she confidently skipped down the pitch to lift the ball over the top.
Spinner Marsh pushes her claims
Marsh missed out on England’s first two matches – a shock 35-run defeat by India before a crushing win over Pakistan – but took her chance after being recalled in place of slow left-armer Alex Hartley.
There was plenty in the pitch at the County Ground for the spinners, and although Marsh conceded four-and-a-half runs an over, she had the knack of taking wickets at crucial moments.
“Laura has worked hard at her game and deserved her four wickets,” former England batter Lydia Greenway said on BBC Test Match Special.
“She has had her fair share of injuries and she has shown great resilience and determination to get back in the side.”
Wilson’s brilliant catch masks sloppy fielding display
Fran Wilson took a breathtaking diving catch to dismiss Dilani Manodara off Knight’s off-spin.
Manodara flashed a late cut shot through point and Wilson, who plays for Taunton-based Western Storm in the Super League, dived full length to claim a sharp catch.
But Sri Lanka’s innings was bookended by some sloppy fielding from England’s players, with missed chances and fumbles much to the chagrin of their bowlers.
If England have designs on winning the tournament they will have to drastically improve in an area of their game in which they have traditionally excelled.
Stats of the day
- Sarah Taylor’s fifty was her first ODI half-century since she made 93 against New Zealand in February 2015
- Taylor has now made 17 half-centuries in 104 ODIs for England
- Laura Marsh took four wickets (4-21) in her last ODI appearance for England – against Sri Lanka in Colombo in November 2016
What next for England?
This year’s World Cup is a one-division round-robin format last used in 2005. The top four teams progress to the semi-finals and with two victories out of three, England are in fourth place in the points table after the third round of games.
England now face testing fixtures against South Africa (5 July), Australia (9 July) and New Zealand (12 July) in their next three matches.