England went into this third one day international with Sri Lanka knowing nothing else than a win would do.The Three Lions were trailing 2-0 in the five match series and knew that if they were to lose this game against Sri Lanka, they will in turn lose the series.
The match itself belatedly got underway after a delay due to rain, consequently that meaning the Duckworth/Lewis method came into play.
The England side included Alex Hales, who comes in for Ian Bell and Chris Jordan, who replaced for Harry Gurney. As for Sri Lanka, they included specialist middle order batsmen Thilina Kandamby in place of Mahela Jayawardene who was unavailable for this match.
The hosts got their innings off to a terrible start. England managed to reduce their opponents to 31-3 at one stage. Kusal Perera and Kandamby fell for ducks. A fourth wicket stand of 77, however, allowed the Sri Lankan’s to regroup after the loss of the three early wickets. Angelo Mathews was eventually dismissed for 37 off the bowling of Jordan, who had the Sri Lankan captain caught behind by Joss Buttler.
That left Sri Lanka on 118-4. They were in need of another good partnership at that point but the fifth wicket pairing of Kumar Sangakkara and vice captain Lahiru Thirimanne only managed to put on 32.
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Sangakkara would be the next man out. The veteran wicket keeper was caught by Moeen Ali off the bowling of Jordan for 63, which took the former Sri Lanka captain past 13,000 one day international runs. Sangakkara is only the fourth player to pass such a milestone.
At 150-5 and most of Sri Lanka’s more household named batsmen back in the pavilion, they looked like they were going to get bowled out for a cheap score.
However, they showed great resolve and thanks to a battling 62 from vice captain Thirimanne and a crucial cameo by Dhammika Prasad, that meant Sri Lanka were able post 242-8, which was a score which seemed daunting for England to chase in 35 overs.
Due to the Duckworth/Lewis method, however, the Three Lions needed 236 to get back into this five match series.
Off to a good start
England with the opening combination of Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook, went about the run chase in a very positive manner. Ali in particular hit two fours and launched five sixes over the boundary in a very entertaining 40-ball knock.
At the other end captain Cook wasn’t quite as cavalier in his stroke play but was looking solid. Cook, who has been in disappointing form with the bat, was looking for a well overdue half century, but sadly it wasn’t to come in this match, the England captain would be the first wicket to fall, caught behind by Sangakkara off the bowling of Prasad. Sangakkara with that catch broke Adam Gilchrist’s record of 472 dismissals which Gilchrist and Sangakkara shared.
Ali seemed to be taking quite a liking to Sri Lanka’s bowling attack, but fell 19-runs later after a horrible mix up with Hales lead to Ali being run out. After Ali’s dismissal, England were 103-2 and were in need of a good partnership to consolidate the good start that was given to them by Cook and Ali.
Middle order collapse
An old fashioned middle order collapse followed and England were in danger of losing this game. At 152-5, Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara falling cheaply, things looked very bleak for England.
Cometh the hour cometh the man they say, in England’s case it was cometh the men, as Joe Root, who has been England’s saviour so many times this year alone was accompanied by Joss Buttler. The England pair put on a brilliant partnership of 84 for the sixth wicket.
Buttler finished unbeaten on 55 from just 45 balls while at the other end Joe Root scored a composed run a ball 48. England are back in this series and trail 2-1, the Three Lions will be looking to carry on the momentum for the rest of this series and into the world cup which starts in February.
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