Champions Trophy: Sangakkara century sees off England

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at The Oval
Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara
Champions Trophy, Group A, The Oval
Sri Lanka 297-3 (47.1 overs) beat England 293-7 (50 overs) by seven wickets
Match scorecard

England's Champions Trophy hopes hang in the balance after Kumar Sangakkara's imperious century led Sri Lanka to a seven-wicket victory at The Oval.

Sangakkara's unbeaten 134, aided by a 30-ball half-century from Nuwan Kulasekara, took Sri Lanka to their target of 294 with 17 balls to spare.

Earlier, fifties from Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root - on the day he received a public apology for being punched by David Warner - seemed to have England well placed on a good batting wicket.

Ravi Bopara made 33 not out from 13 balls, clubbing 28 from the final over to carry the hosts to an imposing 293-7.

But Sangakkara's chanceless knock means Cook's side must beat New Zealand at Cardiff on Sunday if they are to advance to the semi-finals.

Sri Lanka, who were bowled out for 138 in their opening one-wicket defeat by New Zealand, will advance with victory over Australia on Monday.

That they have gone from the verge of elimination to having their fate in their own hands is largely down to a majestic performance from Sangakkara.

The wicketkeeper took advantage of a home attack that was unable to find the reverse swing that was so instrumental in their win over Australia, although England were unhappy to see one ball changed by the umpires midway through Sri Lanka's chase.

Accumulating from the good balls and punishing the bad, the left-hander scored all around the wicket, increasing his aggression as the target drew nearer.

Arriving in the third over after Kusal Perera shovelled James Anderson to mid-on, he shared stands of 92 with Tillakaratne Dilshan and 85 with Mahela Jayawardene as Sri Lanka found the boundary with more regularity than England were able to earlier in the day.

After Dilshan holed out off Graeme Swann to long-on and Jayawardene pulled Anderson to deep square leg, Sri Lanka showed the flexibility to promote Kulasekara.

Although he was involved in a mix-up that could have seen Sangakkara run out for 100, it was Kulasekara's consecutive sixes off Swann that seemed to spell the end for England, with the expensive Stuart Broad getting more harsh treatment in the next over as the hosts became ragged.

He ended unbeaten on 58 off 38 balls, leaving Sangakkara to seal victory with a pull off Broad that took their unbroken partnership to 110.

England would have been hopeful of a target that pushed Sri Lanka harder after Cook, Trott and Root took them to 249-3, but Root's wicket was the first of three to fall without addition - albeit with Eoin Morgan harshly adjudged lbw off Lasith Malinga.

Asked to bat in conditions that looked favourable for bowling, England faced few problems from the Sri Lanka attack and were satisfied with steady accumulation, manoeuvring the ball and running well.

After Ian Bell clipped Shaminda Eranga tamely to mid-wicket, Cook and Trott added 83 for the second wicket, not often finding the boundary but constantly keeping the scoreboard ticking.

Cook was lbw sweeping Rangana Herath on 59, bringing Root to the crease to continue in the same manner.

As both he and Trott became more adventurous, Trott also fell sweeping, this time to Dilshan, for 76, to end a third-wicket stand of 87.

Root had been confident enough to scoop and reverse-scoop Eranga over his head, but his fluent knock was ended when he heaved a Malinga slower ball to Jayawardene on the leg-side boundary.

Morgan fell next ball, leg before to one that would have missed off stump, with Jos Buttler edging behind in the following over.

Still, Bopara's brilliance in twice hitting Eranga over mid-wicket for six either side of a drive over extra cover for another maximum, looked to have given England a competitive total.

However, that was to discount the magnificent Sangakkara.



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