They managed to chase a final victory target of 190 and look relatively comfortable while doing so thanks to the 25-year-old’s century.
However, events when England were fielding looked amateur at times, and they will have plenty to ponder ahead of their game on Saturday against South Africa.
After what was a very lucky decision—with replays showing Perera had not made any contact with the ball—England then immediately thought they had another as Michael Lumb dived forward to catch Mahela Jayawardene from his first ball.
It looked like a clean catch, but afterward the umpires convened they ruled it not out, to the obvious frustration of Dernbach and his teammates.
What followed was a dreadful display, as a total of four catches were dropped and a number of other fielding errors occurred in the subsequent overs.
England's Dropped Catches
|Jade Dernbach||Mahela Jayawardene||Tim Bresnan||5|
|Tim Bresnan||Tillakaratne Dilshan||Stuart Broad||8|
|Tim Bresnan||Mahela Jayawardene||Jade Dernbach||15|
|Ravi Bopara||Thisara Perera||Tim Bresnan||20|
Jayawardene was let off twice, once by Bresnan and also in the fifth over by Dernbach from the Yorkshireman’s bowling, as the players seemed to struggle with the wet ball.
As a finale to such a shambolic display in the field, Ravi Bopara then shelled a chance in the final over off the bowling of Bresnan, who holds a rare distinction of being involved in some way in four dropped catches.
The catches only tell half the story, as there were several other moments in the field to make England players and fans alike cringe.
Buttler was involved in two particularly poor instances, which came within an over of one another.
Firstly, in the 11th over he gathered a throw from the boundary and went to remove the bails with Jayawardene seemingly short of his ground.
However, in a passage of play that could have come from any village green, he contrived to not break the stumps and instead miss them completely, meaning the Sri Lankan was safe.
Then, in the following over he and Dernbach were involved in a near-farcical moment, as they both converged on a top-edge by Tillakaratne Dilshan but then watched the ball harmlessly drop to the turf between them as they both left it to one another.
Hales’ knock in England’s reply was a special one, but it masked a number of flaws in their fielding that will be a big worry for Ashley Giles and his backroom staff.
It was an explosive inning that is unlikely to be repeated, and it should not be forgotten that England’s poor fielding played a large role in forcing them to chase 190 for victory.
They cannot count on Hales or another individual to produce such magic with the bat, so the fielding and catching must improve and do so quickly.