England vs Sri Lanka 4th ODI: Sri Lanka survive Buttler’s blitz to level series at 2-2

Sangakkara's century played a pivotal role in helping Sri Lanka level the series

Sangakkara’s century played a pivotal role in helping Sri Lanka level the series

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka survived England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler’s incredible 121-run blitz at Lord’s to level the series at 2-2.

Sri Lanka were able to stay alive in the series with a seven-run win, which came courtesy of wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara’s magnificent knock of 112.

Sangakkara was well supported by opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan, who scored 71.

England captain Alastair Cook would have been pleased with his decision to bowl first early on after Sri Lanka opening batsman Kusal Perera was caught by Chris Jordan at slip off the bowling of Harry Gurney.

Dilshan and Sangakkara made up for the early loss of Perera with a stunning 172-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Dilshan was clean bowled by James Anderson for 71 off 109 balls, which included five boundaries.

Dilshan hit five boundaries during his knock of 71

Dilshan hit five boundaries during his knock of 71

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Mahela Jayawardene only made seven runs  before he was caught by Anderson at mid-off off the bowling of Gurney.

Sangakkara ended up registering his 19th ODI century before he was stumped by Buttler off the bowling of James Tredwell.

Sangakkara’s superb knock of 112, which was his first ODI century at Lord’s, came off 104 balls and included 14 boundaries.

Lahiru Thirimanne scored 16 runs before he was caught by Gary Ballance at short long leg off the bowling of Anderson.

Thirimanne’s wicket caused a slight controversy as it was not clear if Ballance had taken the catch¬†cleanly, but the third umpire decided to give him out nonetheless.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews managed to make 30 runs before he was caught by Anderson at mid-on off the bowling of Jordan.

Jordan struck again just three balls later when he clean bowled Nuwan Kulasekara for a duck.

Ashan Priyanjan only made nine runs before he was caught by Eoin Morgan at point off the bowling of Gurney.

Gurney claimed his fourth victim two balls later when Sacithra Senanayake was caught by Cook at mid-on for 12.

Thanks to Sangakkara and Dilshan, Sri Lanka finished on 300/9 off their 50 overs.

Gurney was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Anderson and Jordan snapped up two wickets apiece and Tredwell chipped in with one.

Chasing 301 to win, England got off to an awful start as Cook was given out lbw off the bowling of Lasith Malinga for just one run.

Cook was given not out initially, but after Sri Lanka decided to review the decision, the replays showed that the ball had hit Cook’s pad first and the third umpire overturned the original decision.

Ian Bell mustered seven runs before he was caught by Jayawardene at slip off the bowling of Malinga.

Ballance and Joe Root stabilised the innings with an 84-run partnership before Ballance was caught behind off the bowling of Ajantha Mendis for 42.

Root went on to score 43 before he was caught by Mendis at fine leg off the bowling of Mathews.

Morgan made 12 runs before he was stumped by Sangakkara off the bowling of Senanayake.

Ravi Bopara and Buttler steadied the ship by amassing a 133-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Bopara was caught by Thirimanne at short fine leg off the bowling of Mendis.

Bopara’s fantastic knock of 51 came off 47 balls and included one boundary.

Jordan only made five runs before he was caught by Dilshan at long-on off the bowling of Malinga.

Buttler ended up scoring his maiden ODI century and came so close to carrying England across the finish line. His innings was cut short just two balls before the end of the match when he was run out by Malinga for 122 off 74 balls, which included 11 boundaries and four sixes.

Buttler entertained the crowd at Lord's with his inspiring century

Buttler entertained the crowd at Lord’s with his inspiring century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

England eventually finished on 293/8, leaving them seven runs short of their target.

Malinga was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Mendis took two and Mathews and Senanayake claimed one wicket each.

Cook was gutted to have come so close to securing an unassailable 3-1 lead, and said: “It was looking pretty bleak before those two got going. When you’re chasing 300 at Lord’s, it’s hard to defend, we couldn’t quite get going but Jos showed what a special player he is. When you lose wickets in the first couple of overs you have to do some rebuilding, we know we have to play those first 30 overs better if we’re going to chase down 300. Can’t fault the commitment of the lads and we’ll have a one-off game now to decide the series. The pitch didn’t do as much as we thought it might but we did well to keep them to 300. It’s a question of balance, if you want five frontline bowlers or some part time; when it comes off, we’re happy. We’re disappointed to be on the losing side but we’ll go to Edgbaston confident.”

Mathews was pleased to have levelled the series at 2-2, and said: “That was one hell of a game. Tillakaratne and Sangakkara set the platform but we fell away a bit in the middle. Jos’s innings was one of the best I’ve seen, he played brilliantly. The spinners did well, Malinga and Kulasekara are the most experienced guys in our bowling and that paid off at the end. We had to raise our hands up [after making 67] and score those runs, we know that if we get 250 we have the bowlers to defend it. We can take a lot of positives from here for the deciding match.”

Buttler edged out Sangakkara for the Man of the Match award, and said: “That’s the best I’ve ever played, it was brilliant to play that well but really disappointed not to get over the line. Me and Ravi had some fun, we knew we were miles behind and it gave us licence, the partnership built and then we thought we had the game but we lost Ravi and couldn’t quite finish it. It showed how hard it was to stop the scoring if you got a partnership going but there’s always areas you can improve and we’ll try and put them into place for Edgbaston. Kulasekara bowled a really good penultimate over and that put extra pressure on the final over from Malinga. [Test] is a different format, so it’s about trying to improve every day and see where that gets me.”

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