Sri Lanka v England: Joe Root century inspires Pallekele win
|Fifth one-day international, Pallekele:|
|England 240-5 (49.1 ovs) beat Sri Lanka 239 a/o (49 ovs) by five wkts|
An unbeaten 104 from Joe Root guided England to a five-wicket victory in the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
Beginning their chase of 240 a day late after Wednesday's rain, they lost both openers cheaply inside eight overs.
James Taylor (68) and Root put on 104 for the third wicket to revive England.
And Root added 86 with Ravi Bopara, reaching 100 with a six, as England won with five balls left to cut Sri Lanka's lead to 3-2 with two matches to play.
|Sri Lanka v England one-day international series|
|1st ODI, Colombo: Sri Lanka won by 25 runs|
|2nd ODI, Colombo: Sri Lanka won by eight wickets|
|3rd ODI, Hambantota: England won by five wickets (D/L method)|
|4th ODI, Colombo: Sri Lanka won by six wickets|
|5th ODI, Pallekele: England won by five wickets|
After seamer Chris Woakes restricted Sri Lanka with 6-47 before rain intervened on Wednesday, runs for a new-look middle order kept the series alive and brought further encouragement for England as they prepare for the World Cup in February.
Under-fire skipper Alastair Cook, returning to the top of the order following a one-match ban for his team's slow over-rate, was unable to silence his critics however, although he began positively under clear skies by cutting two boundaries in the opening over.
With spin in operation at both ends at the start of the innings, partner Moeen Ali added another boundary but was bowled in the second over playing an ungainly heave to Sachithra Senanayake's fourth delivery in his first match since a suspension for an illegal action.
Cook's problems pushing forward against spin resurfaced and he would have been lbw had the Sri Lankans chosen to review a not-out decision, but he was soon dismissed in similar fashion for 20, a second wicket for Senanayake, who was still able to cause problems despite not generating much spin with his remodelled action.
|Former England spinner Vic Marks|
|"Joe Root has been in good form throughout the series but the frustration for him is that he hasn't got a match winning score. He paced his innings beautifully, lost his timing in the 90s but on 96, he judged his risks and got one in the slot which went for six. Away from Colombo, England are more comfortable, they will go and have a celebration and get themselves ready for match six on this very ground. A very satisfying chase."|
Root and Taylor batted with calm assurance to keep the tourists comfortably ahead of the required rate when the clouds built up to offer the threat of a Duckworth-Lewis denouement.
Taylor, in only his fourth ODI, struck a six over long-on when only on three and took 67 balls to reach his second successive fifty, Sri Lanka missing the variety of a left-arm spinner, with the wily Rangana Herath injured.
But having shared in England's first century partnership of the series, the diminutive 24-year-old cut a forlorn figure when he picked out backward square-leg in the 29th over, with 101 still needed.
Bopara (28) provided the ideal foil for Root, but with only 15 required from as many deliveries he holed out to long on.
Eoin Morgan reverse swept his first ball for four and although the left-hander was also caught on the boundary, Root guided his team to the highest successful run chase at Pallekele, putting them in fine fettle for the penultimate match of the series on Saturday.