Sri Lanka vs England 5th ODI: England close series gap to 3-2 behind Root’s century

Root celebrates after scoring his third ODI century

Root celebrates after scoring his third ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

England batsman Joe Root scored a match-winning century to not only lead his side to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth ODI in Pallekele, but also closed the series gap to 3-2.

Root was well supported by fellow batsman James Taylor, who made 68.

After heavy rain cut the game short on December 10, England, who were chasing 240 to win, got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Moeen Ali was clean bowled by Sachithra Senanayake for four runs.

England captain Alastair Cook managed to make 20 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Senanayake.

Taylor and Root stabilised the innings with a 104-run partnership, during which Taylor brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Ajantha Mendis at long leg off the bowling of Thisara Perera.

Taylor’s brilliant knock of 68 came off 90 balls and included five boundaries and a six.

Taylor hit five boundaries and a six during his knock of 68

Taylor hit five boundaries and a six during his knock of 68

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Root and Ravi Bopara kept the runs flowing with an 84-run partnership, during which Root registered his half-century, before Bopara was caught by Lahiru Thirimanne at long-on off the bowling of Tillakaratne Dilshan for 28.

Eoin Mogran only made five runs before he was caught by Perera at long-on off the bowling of Mendis.

Root and Buttler mopped up the remaining runs with ease as England ended up reaching their target with five balls to spare.

Root finished on 104 off 117 balls, which included seven boundaries and a six, while Buttler remained undefeated on two.

Senanayake was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Perera, Mendis and Dilshan chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “We were 20-30 runs short but nothing can be taken away from Joe Root. I was disappointed with the spinners really. Senanayake was brilliant, we banked on him. It could have been different with Herath but we had the spinners to win it. The break wasn’t a disadvantage, it was just a pretty flat performance.”

Cook was ecstatic to have won, and said: “That was a fantastic couple of days. The way we bowled was fantastic. Kumar played very well but Rooty has played a knock of equal class. James has taken his chance and played so well on two difficult wickets. I was a little concerned about the pitch this morning, we wanted to bat under lights but Rooty and Taylor played superbly well. We didn’t talk about the chase overnight really. It didn’t make a difference. The better side won in this game.”

Root was named Man of the Match.

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