Updated: December 12, 2014 8:01:17 am
Joe Root struck an unbeaten 104 to cap Chris Woakes’ six wickets and lead England to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth one-day international on Thursday. England chased down a challenging total of 239 with 240-5 from 49.1 overs.
Sri Lanka’s series lead was narrowed to 3-2 with two matches to go. The next match is on Sunday at the same ground, and the last on Tuesday. “That was a fantastic couple of days. The way we bowled was fantastic. Kumar (Sangakkara) played very well but Rooty has played a knock of equal class,” Alastair Cook said.
“The series is very much alive.” Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews praised Root, and said their total was a little less than they hoped. “We were about 20-30 runs short,” Mathews said. “It (the pitch) was so helpful for the spinners, a bit disappointed the way we bowled.” Sri Lanka was all out in 49 overs on Wednesday, Woakes taking 6-47 against Sangakkara’s 91, then rain intervened and forced organizers to use the reserve day Thursday for England’s chase.
The target was not considered easy, but the dry pitch offered little turn and, of the spinners, only the recalled Sachithra Senanayake worried the batsmen.
No. 3 batsman James Taylor was needed in the second over after Moeen Ali was bowled by Senanayake, and he was joined by Root in the eighth when Cook was trapped by Senanayake, who had 2-14 off four overs at that stage.
Taylor, playing his fourth ODI, handled the Sri Lanka battery with ease, and he and Root ran well between the wickets. They shared 134 from 21 overs for the third wicket. Taylor scored his second straight half-century of the series with 68, following his 90 on Sunday. He top-edged a pull of Thisara Perera after 90 deliveries, including five fours and a six. Ravi Bopara came in, and he and Root combined for 86 runs.
Root brought up his third ODI century in the next over with a six over midwicket off spinner Ajantha Mendis. He finished unbeaten from 117 deliveries, including seven boundaries.
Brief Scores: England 240 for 5 (Root 104*, Taylor 68) beat Sri Lanka 239 (Sangakkara 91, Woakes 6-47) by five wickets.
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