Sri Lanka levelled the one-day international series with England at 2-2 after a sensational day of cricket at Lord’s.
Sri Lanka win an entertaining fourth ODI by 7 runs to level the series at 2-2. pic.twitter.com/0nIyxqwC3h— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) May 31, 2014
After bowling Sri Lanka out for a rather shameful 67 in the third ODI, England elected to field first after winning the toss, but the Sri Lankans were wise to their attack this time around—putting together an impressive innings.
Angelo Mathews’ side handled everything that the English threw at them, eventually posting a 300/9 as the final overs ticked by.
|T.M. Dilshan||b Anderson||71||109||5/0||65.14|
|M.D.K.J. Perera||c Jordan b Gurney||19||15||2/1||126.67|
|K.C. Sangakkara||s Buttler b Tredwell||112||104||14/0||107.69|
|D.P.M.D Jayawardene||c Anderson b Gurney||7||14||1/0||50.00|
|A.D. Mathews (c)||c Anderson b Jordan||30||30||4/0||100.00|
|H.D.R.L. Thirimanne||c Ballance b Anderson||16||14||2/0||114.29|
|S.M.A. Priyanjan||c Morgan b Gurney||9||7||0/0||128.57|
|K.M.D.N. Kulasekara||b Jordan||0||2||0/0||0.00|
|S.M.S.M. Senanayake||c Cook b Gurney||12||5||1/0||240.00|
|B.A.W. Mendis||Not out||4||1||1/0||400.00|
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara stole the show for the visitors, with the opener notching up 71 runs from 109 balls and the latter romping to 112 from 104.
After Jimmy Anderson dismissed Dilshan in the 36th over, the wickets finally started to flow, but Sangakkara still had time to notch his century—the 19th three-figure score that he’s made in his ODI career, according to ESPN CricInfo.
Dilshan’s was just the second wicket that England had taken, but the bowling drastically improved as they took seven wickets in the remaining 14 overs to give England half a chance of making their sizeable chase.
England finally have a wicket. Dilshan b Anderson 71. SL 198-2 in the 36th. http://t.co/SSZMdQOqja— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 31, 2014
Captain Mathews was the third-highest scorer in Sri Lanka’s order, but the damage was well and truly done by Dilshan and Sangakkara.
Harry Gurney enjoyed the best of the action with the ball for England, taking a 4-for-55 haul, but the hosts looked down and out with the impressive bowling outfit of Sri Lanka still to negotiate.
India are the only team to chase down a target of 300 or more at Lord's (325 vs Eng, 2003). Can England become the 2nd? #EngvsSL— Indian Cricket Score (@IndianCricScore) May 31, 2014
It was certainly looking that way after the opening exchanges, too, with Lasith Malinga disposing of openers Alastair Cook and Ian Bell in double-quick time.
Captain Cook managed just one run before the fast bowler sent him packing, though it took a review from Mathews to get him out.
OUT! Umpire's decision is overturned for the first time this series. Cook gone for just 1. pic.twitter.com/eUAQRsVk85— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) May 31, 2014
Bell’s dismissal just two overs later for seven made the task facing England look impossible but some exemplary batting brought the hosts right back into the match.
|A.N. Cook (c)||lbw Malinga||1||6||0/0||16.67|
|I.R. Bell||c Jayawardene b Malinga||7||8||1/0||87.50|
|G.S. Ballance||c Sangakkara b Mendis||42||69||2/0||60.87|
|J.E. Root||c Mendis b Mathews||43||68||1/0||63.24|
|E.J.G. Morgan||s Sangakkara b Senanayake||12||17||0/0||70.59|
|R.S. Bopara||c Thirimanne b Mendis||51||47||1/0||108.51|
|J.C. Buttler||run out (Malinga)||121||74||11/4||163.51|
|C.J. Jordan||c Dilshan b Malinga||5||10||0/0||50.00|
|J.C. Tredwell||Not out||1||2||0/0||50.00|
|J.M. Anderson||Not out||0||0||0/0||0|
Gary Ballance and Joe Root both contributed scores in the 40s before Jos Buttler put together the kind of brave performance that the lions on his shirt would have been proud of.
Buttler smashed his way to the fastest-ever ODI century at Lord’s, needing just 61 balls as England put themselves very much in contention.
Century for Buttler! 100 off 61 keeps England's hopes alive. 271-6 now with 30 runs needed from 18 balls. pic.twitter.com/k1vPpGboEB— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) May 31, 2014
However, needing just 12 from the final over with Sri Lankan nails bitten down to the bone, England finally faltered.
After Malinga forced Chris Jordan into smashing one down Dilshan’s throat, Buttler lost his wicket for 121 after Malinga once again produced a special delivery.
The England man could only dig his yorker out straight back to the bowler’s hands, and when James Tredwell made his move, Malinga was left with the simple task of running Buttler out.
Nine runs were needed from two balls after that, but it was a task too far with Tredwell and Anderson left at the crease, as Sri Lanka held on for a priceless victory.
Following the match, England legend Ian Botham praised Buttler’s heroics on a so near, yet so far day for the hosts—per Sky Sports:
We saw a fine hundred from Sangakkara and then Buttler came in and played one of the best innings you'll see under the circumstances, the position that England were in when he got to the crease. England almost got there thanks to the partnership between him and Ravi Bopara. Almost. What I like about Buttler is when he decides to go for it, he goes for it.
The ODI series reaches its climax at Edgbaston on Tuesday, where England must find a way to collaborate the third ODI’s bowling brilliance with Saturday’s batting heroics.
With the series locked at 2-2, the stage is perfectly set for England to use their home advantage and enjoy the party atmosphere in Birmingham, where Buttler will once again be looking to make a big impact.