LONDON, (Reuters) – Dinesh Chandimal stroked an unbeaten 105 to help Sri Lanka to a convincing six-wicket win over England at Lord’s yesterday as the tourists took a 2-1 lead in the one-day series.
The 21-year-old Chandimal hit his total off 126 deliveries as Sri Lanka comfortably chased down the 246-7 set by England, whose innings was held together by captain Alastair Cook’s century. Sri Lanka reached 249-4 with 10 balls to spare after Mahela Jayawardene followed his hundred in the previous one-dayer with a 79 from 77 balls that included nine fours and set them firmly on track. Cook, like Chandimal, scored his second one-day international century, and his first since being appointed captain in early May, but his 119 was not enough to make up for his team’s otherwise below-par showing with the bat.
There were a few frustrated faces among the Sri Lanka contingent sitting on the balcony as Chandimal and Angelo Matthews took their time in the closing stages as the pair sought to ensure the former made his century.
He finally achieved it with his second six, clearing long-on off Tim Bresnan and settling nerves in his camp.
“We won comfortably in the end,” Sri Lanka captain Tillakartne Dilshan told Sky Sports before ruing the way his team had closed out the game with Matthews patting back deliveries so that Chandimal could make three figures.
“I was a little upset that it came down to the last overs, but they are youngsters, they are learning, and I’m really happy because we got a good win.” England had stuck with the same line-up that fell to a 69-run defeat at Headingly on Friday and will now face fresh calls for changes before Wednesday’s fourth match of the best-of-five series at Trent Bridge. Cook won the toss and elected to bat, leading by example with his knock having made the most of a let-off after being dropped at first slip having made 15.
He was dropped again soon after bringing up his hundred from 127 balls in the 44th over with a push to mid-on off spinner Suraj Randiv. He was finally run out for 119 after being called through for a quick single.
England had lost Craig Kieswetter (3) and Jonathan Trott (2) cheaply with just 30 runs on the board. Kevin Pietersen helped Cook to dig in by making 41 before he top-edged a sweep to be caught in the deep.
Cook and Ian Bell (30) added 72 and Tim Bresnan chipped in with 26 but England could only post a target that had always looked easy to reach.
“I think we were about 30 or 40 (runs) light,” Cook told Sky Sports. “It’s been a tough day and we have to bounce back. “We just kept losing wickets at the wrong time. We didn’t get going at the top.”