Joe Root century powers England to five-wicket win over Sri Lanka

The 23-year-old Root (104 not out) added 104 for the third wicket with James Taylor (68).

By: Reuters | Published:December 11, 2014 7:26 pm
The Yorkshire right-hander, who hit seven fours in his 117-ball knock, reached his hundred by slog-sweeping Ajantha Mendis for a six in the penultimate over. (Source: AP) The Yorkshire right-hander, who hit seven fours in his 117-ball knock, reached his hundred by slog-sweeping Ajantha Mendis for a six in the penultimate over. (Source: AP)

Joe Root’s third hundred powered England to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the fifth one-day international in Pallekele on Thursday and kept alive their hopes in the seven-match series.

After rain forced play to be suspended on Wednesday, the visitors returned to chase down a 240-run victory target with five balls to spare. They trail the hosts 3-2 in the series.

The 23-year-old Root (104 not out) added 104 for the third wicket with James Taylor (68) after England lost both openers cheaply to off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake.

The Yorkshire right-hander, who hit seven fours in his 117-ball knock, reached his hundred by slog-sweeping Ajantha Mendis for a six in the penultimate over.

Senanayake, back in the Sri Lanka team after being cleared to bowl again with a remodelled action, bowled Moeen Ali (four) in the second over.

He then compounded England’s problems by getting under-fire captain Alastair Cook, who has faced criticism following a string of poor results and lack of runs, out lbw for 20.

Taylor and Root consolidated initially before launching into the bowlers and laying down a solid platform for the chase.

The 24-year-old Taylor, who hit five fours and a six, showed nimble footwork against the spinners to get to his second successive half-century before he was dismissed by Thisara Perera.

Root and Ravi Bopara (28) took England close to the target with a fourth-wicket stand of 86 runs. Bopara and Eoin Morgan (five) fell in quick succession with England in  touching distance of the win.

England paceman Chris Woakes (6-47) tore through the Sri Lankan lower order to bowl out the hosts for 239 in 49 overs on Wednesday despite a cultured 91 from Kumar Sangakkara.

A torrential downpour then kept the players off the pitch and prompted the match officials to abandon the day’s play.

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