Sri Lanka grabs automatic 2019 World Cup berth at Windies' expense

Sri Lanka has secured an automatic berth at the 2019 Cricket World Cup at the expense of West Indies after the two-time champions lost to England in the opener of their one-day series on Tuesday.

West Indies, who have 78 points in the ODI team rankings, cannot now overtake Sri Lanka (86 points) ahead of the September 30 cut-off for automatic qualification regardless of how they do in the remaining four games.

Only a 5-0 series win or 4-0 with a tie or no-result against England would have seen West Indies pip Sri Lanka before the cut-off point.

An unbeaten century from Jonny Bairstow helped England stroll to a seven-wicket victory over West Indies at Old Trafford.

Failure to grab an automatic spot is a significant comedown for Jason Holder's team, which won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979. It will now have to finish in the top two at a qualifier next year if it is to progress to the 2019 tournament in England and Wales.

The 10-team qualifying event will see West Indies join Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland taking on the top four sides from the World Cricket League Championship and the top two sides from the World Cricket League Division 2.

The International Cricket Council introduced the qualifying event after reducing the number of teams for the 2019 event to 10 from the 14 that contested the 2015 edition in Australia and New Zealand.

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