London, Jul 4 : Sri Lanka beat England by six wickets to win the third one-day international at Lord's here on Sunday and take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
A scintillating innings of 79 from 77 balls with 9 fours by Mahela Jayawardena who was involved in a stand of 112 for the second wicket with Dinesh Chandimal set the stage for a Sri Lankan victory in the third one-day international against England here, today.
Sri Lanka scored 249 for 4 in 48.2 overs with Chandimal unbeaten on 105. After losing Tillekeratne Dilshan at 21, Jayawardena and Chandimal toyed with the England bowlers hitting the boundaries with consummate ease. Jayawardena made amends for dropping Alastair Cook early in his innings. His cover driving was a treat to watch.
Chandimal too took the cue from Jayawardena and played some audacious strokes to get his 50 in 73 balls with 6 fours.
The sun was shining in all its splendour and glory when captains Tillekeratne Dilshan and Alastair Cook walked out to toss. Cook won the toss and this time round wasn't he delighted to bat first on a wicket that looked full of runs.
In the second one dayer at Headingley, Leeds, Cook won the toss and in a bit of poor thinking asked Sri Lanka to bat and saw his side lose by 69 runs, which helped Sri Lanka level the series one-all. Both teams went in unchanged.
From morning the tubes and buses were full of spectators Lord's bound to watch the cricket. In some tube stations it was chaotic with stations closed for repairs. Cricket fans were cursing for the inconvenience. However it was a full house at the holy land of cricket to soak in the action on glorious summer's day.
A fighting century from skipper Alastair Cook 119, who was dropped when on 15, took England to a respectable 246, which at one stage looked impossible when they were struggling at 85 for 4.
With wickets falling around him, Cook played a captain's innings and had his snick been taken, England would not have got half the total that they finally got. Cook must thank Jayawardena for that.
Lasith Malinga whom cricket fans here love to watch and talk about because of his peculiar action, drew first blood for Sri Lanka when he enticed Craig Kieswetter to play early and lob his slower ball to Suranga Lakmal at mid on for 3.18 for 1.
In the next over bowled by Nuwan Kulasekera, Cook had a lucky escape when he got a touch to an out swinger from Nuwan Kulasekera and the usually reliable Mahela Jayawardena dropped a regulation catch at slip. Cook was on 15. With 12 more runs added to the score, Jonathon Trott who is utterly stroke less in this style of game and who is lucky to be playing, going for a dry scooped a catch to Dilshan at mid off, off Lakmal and went after scratching around for 2 in 13 balls.30 for 2.
Kevin Pietersen joined Cook and with the England scoring pedestrian, stepped on it and was on the lookout for runs, hitting fours with some elegant and powerful strokes and went to 41 in 43 balls with 6 fours before lifting leg spinner Jeevan Mendis to Suraj Randiv at mid wicket. 79 for 3.His wicket was a big one. An even bigger wicket came Lanka's way six runs later when Mendis had the big scoring Eoin Morgan LBW for 4.85 for 4.
England were going at snail pace when Ian Bell joined Cook and pushed the scoring by adding 72 for the 5th wicket in 94 balls. The batsmen were finding it difficult to find the boundary. Only the singles and twos were coming most the time.
Bell after making 30 in 46 balls tried to scoop a Lakmal delivery over third man and holed out to Kulasekera. 157 for 5.The best batting came when Tim Bresnan and Cook posted 72 in 94 balls for the 6th wicket.
Cook after making his second century in one-day cricket was run out when Sangakkara threw down the wicket trying to steal a single. He made 119 with 13 fours. 232 for 6. Tim Bresnan who made a quick 26 in 29 balls was bowled by Malinga. 234 for 7.
Greame Swann came in and bludgeoned a six and a four off Malinga in scoring an unbeaten 11 and took the England score to 246 for 7 in 50 overs.
England was restricted to this score by some accurate bowling especially the spinners with leg spinner Jeevan Mendis being outstanding. He bowled a good line and length, varied his deliveries well and the England batsmen found him difficult to negotiate and score runs off. His figures of 2 for 40 in 10 overs tells the story. AFP