It was the Dawid Malan show on Saturday at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, as he top scored for England in the third and final T20 International, helping the team get a comprehensive series whitewash over Sri Lanka. The southpaw ended as the leading run getter for his country in this series, reminding the world once again on why he is the number one ranked player in the shortest format of the game.
Setting the target on the day, Malan was given a new responsibility as he was tasked with opening the batting for England. And the southpaw adjusted to that new role like a duck to water, as he forged a partnership exceeding 100 runs with fellow opener Jonny Bairstow. The duo scored at an admirable rate, as England scored at nearly ten an over.
Malan took some time to get going, as he played second fiddle to Bairstow for the majority of the powerplay overs. The Punjab Kings batsman however upped the ante against the inexperienced Wanindu Hasasaranga, as he second over saw Malan hit two fours and a six.
The 33-year-old got to his fifty in the 13th over with a nicely timed cut shot that fetched him two runs. Having got to that milestone, Malan switched gears as Hasaranga once was hit for two massive sixes, considerably improving on that strike rate. The southpaw was looking ominous as he got closer to his first International century, but his innings eventually folded in the 19th over as he was dismissed by Lanka’s best bowler on the night- Dushmantha Chameera.
Nevertheless, Malan’s knock of 76 runs in just 48 balls put England in a strong position, and they also finished strong thanks to a cameo from Chris Jordan who finished the innings with two boundaries.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost a couple of early wickets and since then were always chasing the game thanks to some economical bowling from Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes. Ultimately, the target proved to be too stiff as England completed a convincing series whitewash over their Asian counterparts.