Chris Woakes claimed a six-wicket haul to help dismiss Sri Lanka for 239 before the heavens opened in Kandy meaning England’s run chase will have to wait until tomorrow.
The Warwickshire opening bowler finished with figures of 6-47 from his eight overs while Chris Jordan chipped in with a pair of wickets to add to Steven Finn and James Tredwell’s successes.
Alastair Cook restored himself back into the team at the expense of Alex Hales who could only manage a golden duck in the fourth ODI while Tredwell came in to replace Ben Stokes as England looked to drag themselves back into the series which they currently trail 3-1.
After taking the reins back off Eoin Morgan, Cook won the toss and elected to field at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and he was rewarded by an early strike as Finn removed opener Kusal Perera with Jordan taking the catch in the slips.
A 51-run third wicket partnership followed and it was Jordan who broke the Sri Lankan resistance by bowling Tillakaratne Dilshan for 35 and you couldn’t keep the Sussex man out of the action as he then took the catch to remove Mahela Jayawardene. The experienced top order batsman only made two runs before he handed Woakes his first wicket in the 11th over.
Angelo Mathews then steadied the ship once more after he joined Kumar Sangakkara at the crease but when Jordan broke up the partnership by getting the wicket of the Sri Lanka captain for 40 the hosts struggled to build a platform for a late charge in the innings.
Cook used his bowlers wisely as he shared the work load around six players which included 25 overs of spin between Tredwell, Moeen Ali and Joe Root. Surprisingly, Ravi Bopara didn’t get a chance to impress but it was Woakes who ripped through the lower order by claiming the last five wickets.
Sangakkara was arguably the most important victim with Root doing the honours by catching him on 91 to leave the series leaders struggling on 199-6 in the 45h over on a wicket that was giving assistance to the spinners.
That will be the big challenge England face when play resumes at 2.30pm local time (9am UK time) on Thursday.
Cook will open alongside Ali with James Taylor batting at three as he looks to build on his impressive innings of 90 in the fourth ODI. If England fail to chase the required 240 runs Sri Lanka will take an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven match series.