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Gaur and Lauren Filer star as hosts win first ODI

By Stephan Shemilt

ENGLAND bounced back from their shock T20 series defeat by hammering Sri Lanka in the first one-day international at Chester-le-Street.
Pace bowlers Mahika Gaur and Lauren Filer, both making their ODI debuts, were impressive in picking up three wickets apiece as Sri Lanka were knocked over for only 106.
Leg-spinner Sarah Glenn also claimed 3-20, while wicketkeeper Amy Jones pouched five catches, an England women’s record.

England struggled with the bat during the T20 series, but made no mistake when faced with such a modest target.
Tammy Beaumont made 32, and Emma Lamb 27, while Maia Bouchier, England’s third debutante, hit the winning runs in her 17 not-out.

England completed their seven-wicket win in only 18 overs, and can wrap up the series with victory in the second ODI at Northampton on Tuesday.
England were abject in the T20 series, Sri Lanka inspired, and the 2-1 scoreline was simultaneously one of England’s all-time worst results, and one of Sri Lanka’s best.

This, though, was efficient and ruthless from England, dispatching a Sri Lanka team that had beaten them only once before in ODIs, and are playing their first 50-over series in this country.
On a green-tinged pitch in Durham, England pounced on the opportunity to bowl first, and Sri Lanka had little answer to an attack spearheaded by Gaur and Filer.
With Beaumont and Nat Sciver-Brunt returning to a batting line-up that underperformed in the T20s, it never felt likely that England would struggle in the chase.
And, defending such a small total, Sri Lanka’s skillful spinners had no opportunity to make an impact.

The retirement of Katherine Sciver-Brunt and Anya Shrubsole have left the England pace attack in a state of flux, but Gaur and Filer are showing that the future is in safe hands.
Gaur, aged only 17, caught the eye in The Hundred this summer, and 22-year-old Filer made an impact when she was called up to play in the Ashes Test.

Gaur, with the ability to swing the new ball, has developed a habit of bowling wonderful deliveries. Here, she bowled Sri Lanka captain and star batter Chamari Athapaththu with a superb ball that nipped away and, from that moment, the visitors’ chances of posting a big total evaporated.
Gaur also bowled Anushka Sanjeewani, and later returned to dismiss Udeshika Prabodhani in the same fashion, to wrap up the innings.

In between, Filer bowled with pace and bounce to have Hasini Perera caught down the leg-side, and was on a hat-trick when both Kavisha Dilhari and Nilakshi de Silva poked behind.
Harshitha Samarawickrama batted calmly for her 35, but when she tickled the off-spin of Alice Capsey down the leg-side, and was given out caught behind on review, it was the beginning of Sri Lanka losing their last four wickets for 11 runs.

Neither Beaumont nor Lamb were chosen for the T20s, and they brought solidity to the top of the order with an opening stand of 61.
When they fell, Heather Knight had the opportunity for a confidence-boosting not-out, but she gloved a sweep to be caught behind for 22. This, along with some scruffy ground-fielding, was the only low part of England’s day.
It was left to Bouchier, playing her first ODI after 22 T20s for England, to punch Athapaththu through the covers to seal victory barely four hours after the game began.

England captain Heather Knight: “I am really pleased; it was a good toss to win, because it wobbled about a bit early on. The way the bowlers bowled and made the most of it was outstanding.
“Mahika bowled some pretty magic balls, and is a really exciting talent. Lauren Filer in the middle too, she is always a crowd favourite, and gets everyone up and about. It was nice to get back to winning ways.

“We will see some rotation; we’ve got a big squad, and Mahika is only 17, too. She’s exciting, but we want to look after her as well.”
Player of the match Mahika Gaur: “It was a great day; I really enjoyed myself out there, and it was good to get a win as well.

“It’s about bowling your best ball for longer. I’ve not played much 50-over cricket, but I think it’s good for the bowlers, as the batters don’t go as hard at you.
“I’ve had the conversation with Heather and the coaches; they’ve told me to do what I do best, swinging it in.”

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu: “A tough day at the office. T20 is a different format; Mahika and Kate Cross bowled well in the first hour. We didn’t handle that pressure; we needed 250 or 260 on this pitch.
“We have to talk about positive things, but we have to improve our batting. Patience is important, but I think we can bounce back, and play really good cricket.” (BBC Sport)