MATCH 22: Sri Lanka easily chased down the 210 they required to beat England as Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara made unbeaten hundreds to counter Joe Root’s 121.
Sri Lanka now seemed destined for the quarter-finals as England face two must win games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan to remain in contention.
“It was a brilliant performance,” enthused Sri Lanka’s captain Angelo Matthews. “The partnership from Thirimanne and Sangakkara was amazing.
“We had to try and bat through the innings, and if we did that then we knew we would chase the score down. The top four have been brilliant in the last games and it is great to see, not many teams chase 300 and we have done that”
Thirimanne and Sangakarra shared an unbroken second wicket stand of 212 in 28.2 overs. Sangakkara posted his second century of the tournament in 70 balls, his fastest in ODIs, to beat his previous quickest, his 76-ball 105 against Bangladesh only a few days ago.
Sri Lanka are rapidly improving after a slow start to the competition. Thirimanne’s century in 117 balls means that all of his side’s top four batters have made hundreds in the tournament. He was dropped on 3 by Root at first slip.
England’s bowling lacked variation and the body language betrayed their frustration.
England had begun well after winning the toss with 62 runs coming in the powerplay first ten overs, but then tight bowling from Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Dilshan put the brakes on. In the final 15 overs they then added 148 runs, but will rue their steady middle innings progress.
Moeen Ali took England’s only wicket when Tillakaratne Dilshan handed a leading edge to midwicket. Dilshan hit Broad for two sixes in the eighth over and by the fall of his wicket Sri Lanka had 100 on the board at the end of the 19th over.
Gary Ballance is having a nightmare at number 3 in the order. Today he offered a lame return catch to Dilshan after making only 36 runs in four innings. The simple truth is he is batting too high in the order. For Yorkshire he comes in at 5 in limited overs cricket when he can judge an innings and use his power to finish the job. At 3 in Test cricket he is fine – in one-day cricket he is unused to entering the arena so early.
Root was dropped on 2 by Mahela Jayawardene and became England’s youngest century-maker at a World Cup. Thirimanne did the same for Sri Lanka a couple of hours later.
Root hit Perera’s eighth over for 25 as he dominated a 98-run fifth-wicket stand in 11 overs with James Taylor – England’s highest for that wicket in World Cups. Root made a career best 121 and did not deserve to finish on the losing side.
Suranga Lakmal was unable to complete his last over after being hauled off for two high full tosses and was later fined 30% of his match fee for the beamer
“We lost that game with the ball,” admitted Eoin Morgan. “Credit to Joe Root he was superb, it was great and showed what form he is in.
“I was happy at half time, today was a good improvement and we were happy with our score. We are very flexible in our batting order, but we were happy sending James in front of Jos. Today we bowled a bad ball every over or so and we were punish by a very experienced side. Today we were well off the mark”
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