Sri Lanka level the series, taking last six wickets for 39 runs
Score: Sri Lanka 309-5 (Jayawardene 144, Sangakkara 69) beat England 240 (Morgan 52, Randiv 3-43, Lakmal 3-43) by 69 runs Full scorecard
There was a distinct sense of déjà vu about Sri Lanka’s victory over England at Headingley that levelled the NatWest Series.
Exactly five years to the day since being trounced by eight wickets, England suffered another emphatic loss. In 2006, the Sri Lankans made a target of 322 runs look diddy, cruising home with an incredible 75 balls to spare. Once again Sri Lanka made better use of the excellent batting conditions but this time comfortably defended a 300-plus total.
The similarities even extended beyond the boundary, with cricket dwarfed at the height of summer by another sporting spectacle. This time the national eye was on Andy Murray’s Wimbledon semi-final against Rafael Nadal, just as it had been on England’s exit from the football World Cup the last time these teams met in Leeds.
Mahela Jayawardene’s career-best 144 proved the decisive innings and England were made to pay for their batsmen’s failure to convert their own starts. Five of the top six got into the 20s but could not kick on, leaving the lower order exposed to Lasith Malinga and a soaring required rate.
“That score was gettable but one of us but one of us had to go on and play a special innings,” admitted Alastair Cook, following his first loss as England one-day captain. “All of us got in and none of us did a Mahela.”
Three of the first four dismissals were to catches in the deep, in fact, as England struggled to keep up with the run-a-ball required rate.
And with Eoin Morgan’s dismissal for a top-score 52, stumped from a brilliant take by Kumar Sangakkara, went English hopes as the final six wickets fell for 39 runs.
England set out knowing they would have to surpass their record ODI chase of 306 against Pakistan in 2000 to take a 2-0 series lead yet appeared to be in with a chance when left-hander Morgan crashed consecutive sixes over midwicket off Jeevan Mendis in the 32nd over.
But their innings lacked the direction provided for the tourists by Jayawardene, who made Graeme Swann pay dearly for missing him at slip with masterclass in pacing a one-day innings.
Having inherited the opening role following the suspension of Upul Tharanga and latest in a catalogue of Sanath Jayasuriya retirements, he replicated their three-figure scores of five years ago here.
However, the 34-year-old’s 15th and biggest one-day international hundred, surpassing his previous high of 128 against India in October 2000, was a set of fingertips away from being terminated just seven runs in when a sliced square drive was parried above his head by Swann off Tim Bresnan. To compound Bresnan’s misery, another edge later in the same over bounced short of Swann, evaded his clutches and raced away for four.
Never anything but graceful thereafter, he weaved the ball through the gaps, initially consolidating alongside Sangakkara, before accelerating in the smoothest fashion. His 50 came off 68 balls; his next 50 came at a run a ball; and his final 44 occupied only 32 deliveries.
It was the return of off-spinner Swann for the 46th over, immediately after Sri Lanka’s batting powerplay reaped 59 wicketless runs, that brought about Jayawardene’s demise: stumped, in giving himself room to hit over the off-side.
The same mode of dismissal accounted for Sangakkara, as one spun past the outside edge to terminate a 159-run alliance with Jayawardene for the third wicket. It was also a carbon copy of Swann’s maiden international wicket in 2007-08, when Sangakkara was drawn out of his crease by a big ripper in Dambulla.
England displayed great potency with the new ball defending at The Oval earlier this week but, after Cook won the toss for a second successive game, they failed to make similar inroads. The two successes, in fact, were identikit run-outs from mid-on by Stuart Broad and James Anderson to account for Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal.
Shot of the day: Eoin Morgan’s tin-opener of a reverse sweep off leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis that cut its path between two fielders in the deep – it was just his fourth delivery.
Ball of the day: The reverse-swinging yorker unleashed by Suranga Lakmal that snaked under the defensive jab of Jonathan Trott.
Catch of the day: Lasith Malinga flung himself to his right to clutch Kevin Pietersen’s loft to long-on.
Misjudgement of the day: There was never a single when Dinesh Chandimal nudged to mid-on and James Anderson swooped to expose the error.