Cricket

Liam Plunkett's six off the final ball rescued a tie for England.

Liam Plunkett's last-ball six rescues tie for England

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Football News
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Liam Plunkett repaid Eoin Morgan's faith with the truest of strikes into the Trent Bridge pavilion, when only a six would do off the final ball to claim an improbable tie for England.

Number 10 Plunkett, promoted one position from his published 11, delivered the last telling blow off Nuwan Pradeep to level the scores against Sri Lanka on 286.

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It was an outcome captain Morgan declared England were "very lucky" to sneak - after Chris Woakes (95no), Jos Buttler (93) and ultimately Plunkett rescued the hosts.

Morgan's men were struggling at 30 for four and then 82 for six, after his opposite number Angelo Mathews had first dug out a testing total with an industrious 73 and then taken two early wickets.

But then, with Mathews off the field because of a sore hamstring, Buttler and Woakes got to work in a seventh-wicket stand of 138.

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Still, even with the highest score by any number eight in one-day international history from Woakes, England seemed set to fall just short - until Plunkett intervened to cap an unbroken partnership of 51.

Pradeep had bowled an admirable last over, which began with England needing 14 to win - and after a scrambled three from the penultimate ball, there was no room for manoeuvre.

"There's nothing else but to try and hit it out of the ground," said Plunkett, recalled for his first ODI since last September.

"I was telling myself I have been hitting it well for Yorkshire -'stay still and hope I get enough on it it to get it out of the ground'."

He was instantly aware he had.

"You know when you have nailed the ball - it's like on a golf course off the tee, a similar feeling," he added.

"Sometimes it is worse watching but when you are there, you've practised striking the ball. I feel I'm decent at doing that."

Plunkett's late heroics came to the delight - and relief - of Morgan.

"You can always win the game from any situation, and today proved that a little bit," said the England captain.

"We are very lucky to get out of this game with a tie and go Edgbaston at 0-0.

"The general performance was poor - bat, ball, field, was really rusty.

"That was as bad as we have performed with the bat over the past year.

"(But) to tie the game shows great belief."

Mathews, yet to discover the extent of his injury but hoping to be fit for the rest of the series, had to watch from the pavilion as England resurrected their run chase - and admitted afterwards he thought victory was secured for Sri Lanka.

"I thought we had the game in the bag for most of the overs," he said.

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