Kumar Sangakkara added a missing feather to his much decorated hat with a century at Lord’s as Sri Lanka pulled off a heart-stopping seven-run victory over England in the fourth ODI to level the five match series 2-2 yesterday However, Sangakkara’s heroics were almost wiped off by young England wicket keeper Jos Buttler who nearly [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Malinga, Sanga magic works for Lanka

Dilshan and Sangakkara put on 172 runs for the second wicket

Kumar Sangakkara added a missing feather to his much decorated hat with a century at Lord’s as Sri Lanka pulled off a heart-stopping seven-run victory over England in the fourth ODI to level the five match series 2-2 yesterday

However, Sangakkara’s heroics were almost wiped off by young England wicket keeper Jos Buttler who nearly powered the hosts to an improbable victory with a whirlwind 121 off a mere 74 balls with eleven boundaries and four sixes.

However the 23-year old lanky right hander just fell at the post when he was run out in the fourth ball of the last over when England still had a chance of pulling it off. He was later adjudged the man-of-the-match for his vain but spirited effort

Lasith Malinga bowled a super-cool final over giving away just six runs, while his pace partner Nuwan Kulasekera who had a terrible outing conceding 81 runs in his ten overs, bowled a great 49th over under pressure, limiting the free hitting Englanders to just eight runs.

Earlier, Sri Lankans looked a completely different outfit from the team that played the third ODI as the sun came out brightly on a fine day that contrasted sharply with gloomy, chilly and overcast conditions just three days ago.

Lasith Malinga (R) celebrates taking the wicket of Ian Bell (unseen) for seven runs as Gary Ballance (2-R) looks on -AFP

The veteran left hander Sangakkara has achieved many milestones but a century at the Mecca of cricket was something missing from his illustrious career. He overcame an edgy start to blossom out in his magnificent style to fulfil it as Sri Lanka plundered 300 for nine just three days after they had been shot out for 67, their third ever lowest score in ODIs.

Sangakkara made 112 in 104 balls with 14 boundaries and put on a match-winning 172-run second wicket partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan (71) off 188 balls after Sri Lanka were asked to bat.

The pair came together after recalled opener Kusal Perera who came in at the expense of Dinesh Chandimal clobbered a six and two boundaries off 15 balls before being caught in the slips off Harry Gurney for 19 with total on 26.

Sangakkara did not begin in the most convincing fashion, needing 13 balls to open his account and scoring his first boundary only in the 27th ball he faced, but kept his cool and gradually came to his best with great composure.

He reached the top gear by the 18th over hammering three boundaries in successive balls from part timer Joe Root, and overtook his partner Dilshan to reach the half century one delivery before the opener.

Sangakkara, 36, likely on his final tour of England, reached his 19th ODI century of his 373rd match in 95 balls.

The second wicket stand finally ended on 198 when Dilshan who scored heavily with his ‘Dilscoop’ finally missed one from James Anderson to be bowled for 71 made off 109 balls with five fours.

Sangakkara was finally stumped in the 43rd over in the final attempt at acceleration off spinner James Tredwell.

Captain Angelo Mathews made run-a-ball 30 as Sri Lanka accelerated superbly in last phase, scoring 51 off final five overs.

England paceman Chris Jordan, who took a career best five for 29 at Old Trafford in the previous match was brought back to earth with a thud as he conceded 67 off his 10 overs and also bowled an embarrassing eight wides.

But left-arm seamer Gurney playing just his fifth ODI was the best for the home team claiming four for 55.

Lasith Malinga put early breaks on England’s chase with a stunning opening spell, removing both openers Ian Bell and skipper Alistair Cook while giving away just eight runs in his four overs. His dominance was such that the first runs off the bat against his bowling came only in the last ball of his third over.

From 10 for 2 in the fourth over, Gary Ballance and Joe Root put on a promising 84-run third wicket stand but it came at a slow pace as Sri Lankan fielders perfectly complimented a tight bowling attack.

England slumped quickly to 111 for 5 in the 29th over. Then the change came when wicket-keeper Jos Buttler joined Ravi Bopara and shared an exciting 133-run six wicket stand in 16 overs. That put England firmly back on the route for target despite the pressure of the rapidly mounting asking rate.

Ajantha Mendis finally broke the threatening stand when Bopara miscued a sweep to leg slip with the total on 244 in 45th over. The all rounder made 51 in 47 balls.

However Buttler carried on unabated taking 21 runs off Kulasekara’s next over and looked well set to guide England home.

Interestingly, England’s revival came as conditions turned chilly and overcast.

The Englishmen finally had to make 12 runs in 6 Malinga deliveries. Yet, the champion had Jordan caught in the deep by Dilshan and then ran out the marauding Buttler with a thinking yorker to give the Lankans a memorable victory.

ScoreboardSRI LANKA Innings
TM Dilshan b Anderson 71 (Full and straight delivery, tries to play towards
fine leg, but completely misses)
Kusal Perera c Jordan b Gurney 19
(Back of length outside off stump, plays late as
he goes to pull. Caught at slip)
Kumar Sangakkara st Buttler b Tredwell 112(Floated delivery, swings but misses)
Mahela Jayawardene c Anderson b Gurney 07
(Ball pitches outside off stump, tries to clear
mid off but fails)
Angelo Mathews c Anderson b Jordon 30
(Batsman steps to the leg, bowler follows him;
mistimes straight to mid on)
Lahiru Thirimanne c Balance b Anderson 16
(Short, slower delivery, pulls, short long leg
lunges to take a good catch)
Ashan Priyanjan c Morgan b Gurney 09
(Full toss, swings hard, balls hits outside edge
and caught at point)
Nuwan Kulasekara b Jordon 00
(Yorker, knocks out leg stump)
Sachithra Senanayake c Cook b Gurney 12
(Full toss, swings but miscues to be caught
at mid on)
Ajantha Mendis not out 04
Lasith Malinga not out 00
Extras (lb 3, w 16, nb 1) 20
Total (9 wickets; 50 overs) 300
Fall-of-wickets: 1-26 (Perera), 2-198 (Dilshan), 3-217 (Jayawardene), 4-233 (Sangakkara), 5-261 (Thirimanne), 6-279 (Mathews), 7-280, (Kulasekara), 8-292 (Priyanjan), 9-296 (Senanayake)
Bowling: James Anderson 10-1-60-2 (1nb), Harry Gurney 10-2-55-4 (3w), Joe Root 6-0-40-0, Chris Jordan 10-0-67-2, (8w), James Tredwell 10-0-39-1, Ravi Bopara 4-0-36-0 (1w)
Alastair Cook lbw b Malinga 1
(Full delivery, swings into off stump but
not given, the decision is reviewed and overruled)
Ian Bell c Jayawardene b Malinga 7
(Full outside off stump, while playing
forward tries to pull the bat inside but edges to slip)
Gary Balance c Sangakkara b Mendis 42
(Quicker, pitches across, tries to reverse
sweep and edges)
Joe Root c Mendis b Mathews 43
(Plays across the line but fails to connect
neatly, finds the top edge and caught at fine leg)
Eoin Morgan st Sangakkara b Senanayake 12
(Stretches out and goes for a wild sweep,
beats the batsman whose back-foot is short of crease)
Ravi Bopara c Thirimanne b Mendis 51
(Slog-sweeps, finds a thick top edge and is caught comfortably at short fine leg)
Jos Buttler run out 121
(Yorker from Malinga, digs out and attempts
a run but is stranded by the bowler)
Chris Jordon c DIlshan b Malinga 5
(Pitches up and struck to long on, fails to clear the rope)
James Tredwell not out 1
James Anderson not out 0
Extras (lb 6, w 3, nb 1) 10
Total (8 wickets: 50 overs) 293
Did not bat: Harry Gurney
Fall-of-wickets: 1-3 (Cook), 2-10 (bell), 3-94 (Balance), 4-107 (Root), 5-111 (Morgan), 6-244 (Bopara), 7-290 (Jordon), 8-292 (Buttler)
Bowling: Nuwan Kulasekara 10-0-81-0, Lasith Malinga 10-2-52-3 (1nb, 1w), Angelo Mathews 7-1-30-1 (1w), Sachithra Senanayake 10-049-1, Ajantha Mendis 10-0-60-2 (1w), Ashan Priyanjan 3-0-15-0

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