England cruised to an emphatic 10-wicket victory over Sri Lanka after the hosts bowled out the tourists for just 67, largely thanks to a superb bowling performance by Chris Jordan who claimed five wickets.
The returning Alastair Cook and Ian Bell then steered England home by quickly hitting 73 runs at exactly a run a ball with Bell finishing the third ODI with a six to end the game in just over 36 overs.
Cook won the toss and elected to field after a 20 minute delay to proceedings following prolonged heavy rain in Manchester. The decision to bowl couldn’t have gone any better for the skipper who missed Sunday’s defeat due to a groin complaint with James Anderson removing the openers inside the first five overs.
Jordan then entered the attack to remove Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal before Mahela Jayawardene was given lbw to James Tredwell’s first delivery of the match to leave Sri Lanka languishing on 58-5.
The Sussex fast bowler then picked up his third of the match when captain Angelo Mathews was caught behind by Jos Buttler for 11 as Sri Lanka had no answer to an excellent England performance.
Ravi Bopara joined the party with an excellent run-out before Jordan completed his maiden five-for in between Tredwell’s second wicket of the match.
That left England chasing 68 for victory and with rain in the air Cook and Bell did not hang around with Bell smashing a six down the ground to win the game after just 12.1 overs of the allotted 50.
The openers played fluently at Old Trafford and rarely looked troubled on their way to bouncing back from defeat on Sunday which Joe Root labelled as embarrassing. Just days earlier the same team (with the exception of Cook replacing Michael Carberry) was bowled out for just 99 at Durham and they answered their critics in the perfect way to take a 2-1 series lead.
Cook ended the contest with 30 off 40 deliveries while the ever impressive Bell plundered 41 off only 33 balls which sets up Saturday’s fourth ODI at Lord’s nicely, a win and England will take the Royal London trophy with an unassailable 3-1 lead ahead of the final match in Birmingham next week.