Sangakarra ton outweighs Buttler as SL level series

England

Sri Lanka held on for a tight seven run victory over England in the fourth ODI at Lord's, levelling the series at two-all despite a brilliant century from Jos Buttler that took the hosts to within striking distance.

Sri Lanka held on for a tight seven run victory over England in the fourth ODI at Lord's, levelling the series at two-all despite a brilliant century from Jos Buttler that took the hosts to within striking distance.

Buttler's century came off 61 balls, a new England record, but he was out before the close and the target of 301 was just too much with Lasith Malinga bowling the final over. Sri Lanka had scored 300 for nine, with Kumar Sangakkara's making 112.

England won the toss and elected to field, presumable anticipating a lot of movement given the clouds overhead, and named an unchanged side from the one that won the third ODI by 10 wickets.

They started off well, with the bowlers restricting Sri Lanka to just 20-odd in the first five overs, before Harry Gurney took the first of his four wickets by removing Kusal Perera for 19, after he was brought in for Dinesh Chandimal.

But that was all the joy England had for the next 30 overs, as Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan put on a stand of 172 runs. Though they started sedately, their overall pace was nearly six to the over.

Dilshan, who had made 88 earlier in the series, was by far the more tempered partner, bringing up his half century off 72 balls, while Sangakkara was more creative, using 53 deliveries.

Dilshan was eventually out for 71, trying to be cheeky and moving away from his stumps to James Anderson for a sweep, but the paceman speared it into the leg stump, and from there Sri Lanka saw wickets tumble.

Sangakkara kept going though, recording his ton off 95 balls, though he lost Mahela Jayawardene in the interim, out for seven to Gurney, lofting it to Anderson at mid-off.

Once Sanga was out in the 43rd over, stumped by Buttler off James Tredwell, the England bowlers did well for the most part. With a score well over 300 on the cards, they pulled it back and took five more wickets.

But the score of 300 was something England had never chased at Lord's, and when they lost both openers to Malinga for single figures it looked unlikely that they'd do it this time.

What followed by 130 deliveries of sheer agony for England fans, as Joe Root and Gary Ballance failed to hit a boundary in that time, and played as though the target was 180 and not 300. Their stand of 84 came off 20 'boring middle' overs.

They both departed having scored 40-odd, and this was a blessing in not much disguise as Buttler and Ravi Bopara came in to liven things up. It was the hope that killed the fans though, as the pair's 113-runs stand took them close but not all the way.

Bopara made his 51 off 47 balls, with only one four, before falling to Ajantha Mendis, and from there it was all up to Buttler. The Lancashire keeper hit his ton off 61 balls, smashing Nuwan Kulasekara in particular all over the park.

Then it came to the final over, and Buttler had taken England to within 12 runs of a win, which had seemed impossible earlier. But this was Malinga's forte, and he saw Buttler run out by miles, before giving up just five useless runs.

England: Alastair Cook (capt.), Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Jordan, James Tredwell, James Anderson, Harry Gurney

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (capt.), Ashan Priyanjan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga

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