Monday, July 4, 2011


London: Dinesh Chandimal's swashbuckling century anchored Sri Lanka to a convincing six-wicket win in the third one-day international at Lord's on Sunday, as England captain Alastair Cook's career-best knock of 119 proved in vain.

Cook gave the hosts a fighting chance by grafting his way to a second ODI century in a total of 246-7 but the 21-year-old Chandimal's 105 not out helped Sri Lanka chase down the target, finishing on 249-4 with 10 balls to spare.

Opener Mahela Jayawardene — building on his near-flawless 144 in the tourists' series-leveling win at Headingley on Friday — weighed in with an assured 79 at more than a run a ball.

Sri Lanka moved 2-1 ahead in the five-match series, with the fourth ODI at Nottingham on Wednesday.

In farcical scenes late on, Angelo Mathews went on the defensive and often refused runscoring opportunities to allow Chandimal to complete his second ODI century. The tactics angered captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, sitting on the balcony outside the dressing rooms, and left the crowd bemused.

Chandimal eventually passed the milestone two balls into the 48th over, with a massive six over the mid-on boundary, and grabbed the winning runs with a four through extra cover. He had been just as brutal early on, slashing and swotting wayward deliveries to the rope and surviving a fierce early spell by Stuart Broad.

Chandimal, who passed 50 for the second time in ODIs, had 11 fours and two sixes in his 126-ball knock.

Dilshan was bowled by Tim Bresnan for 3 at the start of the Sri Lankans' chase but a second-wicket stand of 112 between Jayawardene and Chandimal put them back in command on a flat wicket in increasingly overcast conditions.

Jayawardene's innings was typically cultured, an exquisite extra-cover drive for four off Bresnan in the sixth over — arguably the shot of the day— which was one of nine boundaries he struck.

He fell to the expensive Jade Dernbach while Kumar Sangakkara (25) and Thilina Kandamby (11) were the other men out for the tourists. Mathews finished on 1 not out off 21 balls.

Cook had earlier underpinned England's 246-7 with a gritty century, made against the backdrop of a regular smattering of falling wickets at the other end.

Kevin Pietersen contributed a quickfire 41 before falling to legspinner Jeevan Mendis for the third straight time this series and when limited-overs star Eoin Morgan departed for 5, less than two overs later, England was struggling at 85-4 after 22 overs.

Partnerships of 72 (Cook-Ian Bell) for the fifth wicket and 75 (Cook-Bresnan) for the sixth revived the hosts, who stuttered to a total that was always going to be tough to defend given the benign batting surface at Lord's.

It was Cook's first century since 2007 — when he made 102 against India — and was a good response to the critics who believe his measured style of batting is not suited to ODIs.

His patient knock, which included 13 fours, may have come off 143 balls but it was crucial in the context of the innings, which started off poorly when Craig Kieswetter (3) and Jonathan Trott (2) perished cheaply to pile early pressure on Cook.

England would have been in even more trouble had Jayawardene not dropped Cook when he was on 15. The captain — who passed the 1,000-run mark in his 29th ODI — was eventually dismissed with seven balls left in the innings, run out by wicketkeeper Sangakkara after attempting a cheeky single from the non-striker's end.

A Sri Lankan victory at Trent Bridge on Wednesday will clinch the series.


England: Craig Kieswetter (wk), Alastair Cook (c), Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jade Dernbach.

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan (c), Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Thilina Kandamby, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekera, Suranga Lakmal, Suraj Randiv, Lasith Malinga.