England turned a reluctance to bat and five dropped catches by Sri Lanka into an imposing total of 293-7 as they sought a win to reach the Champions Trophy semifinals on Thursday. Captain Alastair Cook,Jonathan Trott and Joe Root scored half-centuries and Ravi Bopara had another effective late slash as England brought its innings to a slow boil under The Oval lights.
The top order primed the hosts for a big score going into the last 10 overs at 201-2. Despite losing wickets,they plundered 92,with Bopara taking 28 off the last over.
At the time of going to print,Sri Lanka were 253/3 after 43 overs,with Kumar Sangakkara unbeaten on 112.
Sri Lanka,needing a victory to stay in semifinals contention,decided to bowl first in the lunchtime gloom but didnt help itself with dropped catches extending the innings of openers Ian Bell and Cook,and Root.
Cook said he would have bowled if hed won the toss. Then he turned the lost toss to his advantage as he and Bell patiently handled the new ball and took the score to 48 before Bell struck a poor shot off Shaminda Eranga straight to Kusal Perera at midwicket.
Eranga made up for not catching out Bell on 12 off fellow fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara. Bell made 20. Tillakaratne Dilshan then dropped Cook on 23 and 56 before the captain was finally out lbw to spinner Rangana Herath for 59. Cook compounded his missed sweep by failing to overturn the decision on video review.
After Cook and Trott combined for 83,Root joined the latter and they lifted the run rate. He and Trott shared 87 runs. Root was the recipient of David Warners punch in a pub early Sunday,but the incident had no effect on his increasing stage presence.
Root hit five boundaries,the most audacious a reverse hit off Kulasekara. He was given lives on 37 and 57 off Lasith Malinga,the unlucky bowler. With Trott and Root dug in,England was poised for a huge score. But then Trott was out for 76,also trapped by Herath,and Malinga finally got Root for 68.
That sparked a collapse. Eoin Morgan was out to Malinga for 13 in the same over,and Jos Buttler went for a duck on the same total. Tim Bresnan was out for 4 at 254-7 and England looked set to fall short of the score they wanted.
But in the last over,Bopara brought The Oval alive by smacking Eranga for 6,4,6,4,2,6 in scoring 33 from 13 balls and make Sri Lankas task even harder.
England innings: Alastair Cook lbw b Herath 59,Ian Bell c Perera b Eranga 20,Jonathan Trott lbw b Herath 76,Joe Root c Jayawardene b Malinga 68,Eoin Morgan lbw b Malinga 13,Jos Buttler c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 0,Ravi Bopara (not out) 33,Tim Bresnan b Eranga 4,Stuart Broad (not out) 7,Extras (lb 10,w 3) 13; Total (for 7 wickets in 50 overs) 293.
Fall of wickets: 1-48,2-131,3-218,4-249,5-249,6-249,7-254.
Bowling: Nuwan Kulasekara 10-0-42-1,Lasith Malinga 10-2-58-2,Shaminda Eranga 10-0-80-2,Angelo Mathews 6-0-28-0,Rangana Herath 10-0-46-2,Tillakaratne Dilshan 4-0-29-0.