England went into this third one day international with Sri Lanka knowing nothing else than a win would do.The Three Lions are trailing 2-0 in the five match series and new 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 meant meant the Duckingworth Lewis method came into play. The Duckingowrth Lewis method calculated that this match would be 35 overs a side.
The England side included Alex Hales who comes in for Ian Bell and Chris Jordan who comes in for Harry Gurney, as for Sri Lanka they included specialist middle order batsmen Thilina Kandamby in place of Mahela Jaywawardena who was unavailable for this match.
The hosts Sri Lanka got their run chase off to a terrible start, England managed to reduce their opponents to 31-3 at one stage, Kusal Perrera 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 – but captain Angelo Matthews was dismissed for 37 off the bowling of Chris Jordan who had the Sri Lankan captain caught behind by Joss Buttler.
That left Sri Lanka on 118-4 , the Sri Lankan’s were in need of another good partnership at that point- but the fifth wicket pairing of Kumar Sangakarra and vice captain Lahiru Thirimanne only managed to put on 32. Sanagakarra would be the next man out, the veteran wicket keeper was caught by Moeen Ali off the bowling of Chris Jordan for 63, which took the former Sri Lanka captain past 13,000 one day international runs. Sangakarra 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, the Sri Lankan’s looked like they were going to get bowled out for a cheap score. Sri Lanka though however showed great resolve and thanks to a battling 62 from vice captain Thrimanne and a crucial cameo by Dhammika Prassad, 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 Duckingworth Lewis method however The Three Lions needed 236 to get back into this 5 match series.
England with the opening combination of Moeen Ali and Alistair Cook, went about the run chase in a very positive manner. Ali in particular hit two 4’s and launched 5 6’s over the boundary in a very entertaining 40 ball knock.
At the other end captain Alistair Cook wasn’t quite as ‘cavalier’ in his stroke play- but was looking solid. Cook who has been in disappointing form with the bat in one day internationals 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 Sangakarra off the bowling of Prassad. Sangakarra with that catch broke Adam Gilchrist’s record of 472 dismissals which Gilchrist and Sangakarra shared.
Moeen Ali who seemed to be taking quite a liking to Sri Lanka’s bowling attack, fell 19 runs later after a horrible mix up with Alex Hales lead to Ali being run out. England after Ali’s dismissal 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.
An old fashioned middle order collapse followed however and England were in danger of losing this game. At 152-5 and with ‘finishers’ Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara back in the pavilion after both fell 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.