Kumar Sangakkara may have landed himself in trouble for his criticism of Sri Lanka’s cricket chiefs during his Cowdrey Lecture on Monday, but he did his best to make friends here with a composed 75 while his team-mates floundered in alien conditions.
Sangakkara faces an investigation ordered by Sri Lanka’s sports minister for his scathing criticism of his country’s cricket’s administrators and allegations of political meddling.
Today the left-hander let his batting do the talking, guiding Sri Lanka to 174 on a greentop pitch that was tailor-made for England’s seam attack.
Sri Lanka were dismissed for 174 with 6.2 of their 50 overs unused but Sangakkara batted for all but four overs of their innings to take them to a target that appeared improbable when they slipped to 20 for four.
At that stage it looked like Sri Lanka would struggle to pass 99, their lowest one-day total against England, after James Anderson had taken for 14 in his first 27 balls.
His third victim, Thilana Kandamby, made Anderson the leading wicket-taker in one-day internationals at Trent Bridge with 13 from six matches. Waqar Younis, the previous record holder took his 12 wickets in only three games.
But Sangakkara, who produced a masterful century in similar conditions on his championship debut for Warwickshire against Durham in 2007, had the technique and temperament to survive Anderson’s opening spell and to prosper against the change bowlers.
Only Angelo Mathews, who clobbered Jade Dernbach and Stuart Broad for sixes in his 49-ball 39, gave Sangakkara any significant support with the pair adding 72 in 15 overs for the sixth wicket.
It required a sharp return catch from Bresnan, who grapsed the ball between his left middle and index fingers and thumb before he hit the ground, to snare Mathews after which Sangakkara was left to farm as much of the strike as he could.
Sangakkara reached his 50 from 80 balls with five fours and added two more boundaries in a last wicket stand with Suranga Lakmal before he carved to Eoin Morgan at backward point having reached his highest one-day international score against England.
Dernbach came back well and took the last three wickets in ten balls to finish with three for 39, his best figures at this level.