England keep Sri Lanka to 239 before heavy rain forces postponement

Chris Woakes picked up a six-wicket haul as England bowled out Sri Lanka for 239 in the fifth one-day international in Pallekele, but a torrential downpour has resulted in England’s chase being postponed until Thursday.

Trailing 3-1 after the first four matches, returning England captain won the toss and elected to field, a decision that proved to be inspired as they turned in their best bowling performance of the series.

Steven Finn struck immediately in the first over, removing Kusal Perera for a duck, before Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara set about stabilising the Sri Lankan innings. After building a 50 partnership, Chris Jordan bowled Dilshan for 35, and Woakes picked up his first wicket in the next over, dismissing stalwart Mahela Jayawardene for two as Sri Lanka were reduced to 59-3.

Captain Angelo Mathews joined Sangakkara at the crease, accumulating steadily, before the former became Jordan’s second victim, falling in the 34th over for 40. James Tredwell then claimed his only wicket of the day, rapping Lahiru Thirimanne on the pads for just eight.

WOAKES WRECKS SRI LANKAN LOWER ORDER

Meanwhile, Sangakkara stood firm at the end, hitting 10 boundaries in a fluent knock of 91, but when he pulled straight to Joe Root at deep midwicket. Sachithra Senanayake, Thisara Perera, and Jeevan and Ajantha Mendis, all succumbed to Woakes in the space of five overs, as he single-handedly skittled the Sri Lankan tail, with two of his allotted 10 overs to spare.

All of England’s bowlers proved valuable in an impressive effort, all turning in economy rates below six. Jordan’s two wickets, and Finn’s one, complimented Woakes’ exploits well in the pace department, while Tredwell typically suffocated the middle part of the innings, giving away a mere 33 runs from his 10 overs. Moeen Ali was also solid, despite not taking a wicket, his allocation going at just five an over. Joe Root was sparingly used, but conceded only 21 runs in his five overs.

The rescheduling of England’s innings to tomorrow, allows them to chase a full target as opposed to a revised Duckworth/Lewis figure. The relatively low target presents Cook with a good opportunity to score some runs, while James Taylor will look to build on his 90 from the last game, and cement his place in the side.

The match will resume at 2.30pm local time on Thursday, with England needing a victory to keep the seven-match series alive.

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