Sangakkara unbeaten 134 helps Lanka beat England by 7 wickets

Sangakkara unbeaten 134 helps Lanka beat England by 7 wickets

Three batsmen strike half-centuries as hosts set Lanka 294-run target

Sangakkara unbeaten 134 helps Lanka beat England by 7 wickets

Kumar Sangakkara smashed a brilliant unbeaten 134 as Sri Lanka registered a thumping seven-wicket win over England to keep themselves in the hunt for a semifinal berth in the Champions Trophy here today.

Sangakkara played a composed 135-ball unconquered innings for his 15th ODI hundred in his 342nd match, which was studded with 12 fours as Sri Lanka chased down the target of 294 with 17 balls to spare in their must-win Group A match at the oval.

He shared three crucial partnerships -- 92 with opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (44) for second wicket, 85 with Mahela Jayawardene (42) for the third wicket and 110 for the unbroken fourth wicket with Nuwan Kulasekara (58 not out) -- after Kushal Perera (6) was out cheaply in the third over itself.

Kulasekara, who was promoted up the order, made the run chase an easy one later on as he hit a 38-ball unbeaten 58 with the help of five fours and three sixes, which took the game away from England.

Sangakkara fittingly hit the winning runs, a four, as Sri Lanka reached 297 for three in 47.1 overs

After Sri Lanka's win today, Group A was thrown wide open with New Zealand on top with three points from two matches. All the four teams have played two matches each. Sri Lanka opened their account -- two points from two matches. England remained on two points while Australia were on one.

Sri Lanka lost opener Perera early with James Anderson taking the wicket but Dilshan and Sangakkara put their side on track with a solid 92-run stand for the second wicket from 18.3 overs.

The duo kept the scorboard ticking by playing sensible cricket, scoring ones and twos while also finding the boundaries. They picked part-timer Joe Root for punishment and took 17 runs in the 15th over with two fours and a six.

England got the breakthrough in the 21st over with off-spinner Graeme Swann dismissing Dilshan who unnecessarily danced down the track to hoist the bowler only to find the thick inside edge of his bat for Root to take the catch.
Dilshan hit three fours and a six in his 56-ball innings and Sri Lanka were 102 for two at that stage. Sri Lanka were 119 for two at the halfway stage with the asking rate climbing to seven an over but they were well on course with Sangakkara and Jayawardene going strong.

Sri Lanka chose to press the advantage of the momentum going by taking the batting powerplay in the 36th over but it did not work the way they would have wanted as Jayawardene was out immediately.

Anderson manage to entice Jayawardene for a hook shot but the batsman failed to beat the deep square leg fielder Bairstow as England got the breakthrough they desperately needed. Jayawardene's 43-ball innings was studded with three fours and a six.

Sangakkara was not perturbed by Jayawardene's dismissal and he raced to his 100 in the 39th over with a single off Tim Bresnan, which came from 111 balls with the help of eight fours.

Sri Lanka needed 76 runs from the last 10 overs with seven wickets in hand and Kulasekara, who was sent up the order after Jayawardene's fall, took the game away from England's reach with a flurry of sixes and fours.

He hit highly-rated off-spinner Swann for two consecutive sixes in the 43rd over and then punished Stuart Broad with a six and two fours the next over to race to his fifty from just 29 balls.

Earlier, three England top-order batsmen hit half centuries before a late flourish by Ravi Bopara (33 not out from 13 balls) as they post a challenging 293 for seven.

Sent into bat, captain Alastair Cook (59) and Jonathan Trott (76) laid a solid foundation by sharing 83 runs for the second wicket from 17 overs after Ian Bell (20) was out early to set the tone for Joe Root (68) to accelerate the innings.
The initial advantage seemed to have frittered away somewhat for England before Bopara's cameo took the score near 300 mark. He struck 28 runs with the help of three sixes and two fours from the last over bowled by pacer Shaminda Eranga. England scored 92 runs from the last 10 overs.

Cook and Trott played calculative innings by scoring runs in ones and twos. They cut off the risk and employed a safety-first approach as their partnership had just three boundaries.

Cook consumed 85-balls and hit just three fours while Trott found the boundary ropes five times in his 87-ball innings. The cautious approach was apparent from the very beginning with prolong periods without boundaries.

However, England somehow got the runs and kept the scoreboard ticking. Their ability to negotiate fast bowler Lasith Malinga (2/58), whose first spell of four overs yielded just 10 runs, without any damage saw them in a sound position by the halfway mark when the home side were 124 for one.

Cook was also dropped twice in his 'strokeless' innings -- on 23 and 56 -- both by Tillakaratne Dilshan.

The England captain finally fell in the 29th over of the bowling of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath as he was trapped LBW while attempting a sweep shot playing across the line. Cook called for review which went against him.

Trott and Root then shared 87 runs for the third wicket from 13.3 overs before the former was out in the 42nd over with Herath taking his second wicket, also a LBW decision.

It was left to Root and Eoin Morgan (13) to get the maximum out of slog overs but both perished in consecutive balls in the 46th over as England lost the initial advantage a bit.

Root, who was involved in a bar brawl with Australian David Warner in Brimingham on Sunday, was foxed by a Malinga slower delivery as the ball took the top edge for Mahela Jayawardene to take an easy catch at deep midwicket. Next ball, Morgan was adjudged LBW as he missed a fuller delivery. Malinga, Herath and Eranga grabbed two wickets each while Kulasekara got a wicket.