powered by

11 December 201419:29

Root, Woakes keep England alive

Visiting side eases to five-wicket win on reserve day to narrow margin to 3-2 in seven-match series

Root, Woakes keep England alive - Cricket News

Riding on Joe Root’s unbeaten century, England reached the target with five balls to spare.

England stayed alive in the seven-match One-Day International series against Sri Lanka after easing to a five-wicket victory in the fifth match at the Pallekele International Stadium on Thursday (December 11).

Riding on Joe Root’s unbeaten century on the reserve day – rain made it impossible for the second innings to be played on Wednesday – England achieved the target of 240 in the final over with five balls to spare, leaving the series tantalisingly poised at 3-2. It was the highest successful chase in an ODI on the ground.

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 239 in 49 overs after Chris Woakes ran through the line-up to return 6 for 47. Sri Lanka’s relatively competitive total was down to Kumar Sangakkara’s 123-ball 91, and his 85-run stand with Angelo Mathews for the fourth wicket.

England was expected to have a tricky chase, with the pitch aiding spin by the end of the first innings, but the postponement seemed to work in its favour.

Play resumed at 2.30pm local time, and England was reduced to 35 for 2 after the openers, Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook, were dismissed by Sachithra Senanayake. It was Senanayake’s first international game in seven months after he was cleared to play by the International Cricket Council, having undergone remedial work on an illegal action.

Senanayake first had Ali bowled after the batsman completely missed a slog sweep, and he followed that up with the wicket of Cook, a delivery with minimal turn going on to trap the England captain in front of stumps.

It was all England thereafter though. James Taylor and Joe Root put on 104 for the third wicket at close to five runs an over. They used their feet well, constantly rotated the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking, and punished the bad balls when given the chance. Sri Lanka eventually broke the stand when Taylor, having scored 90-ball 68, heaved one off Thisara Perera straight to long leg.

However, Ravi Bopara came in and proved to be the ideal foil for Root. Bopara was calm and unhurried as Root attacked, and the two put on 86 for the fifth wicket to take England to the brink of victory. Root reached the three-figure mark – his third century in the format, all of which have been scored this year – with a slog sweep off Ajantha Mendis that cleared the midwicket fence.

Both Bopara and Eoin Morgan holed out while looking to finish the chase off in style, but England eventually crossed the line.

The sixth ODI will be played at the same venue on December 13.

Please click here to see the full scorecard of Sri Lanka v England in Kandy.