[www.inewsguyana.com] – Two out-of-form batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirimanne found their touch at the right time hitting half-centuries apiece to steer Sri Lanka to a series-clinching 3-2 win over England in the fifth and final one-day international.
Sri Lanka chased down England’s rather moderate total of 219 off 48.1 overs scoring 222 for four wickets to win by six wickets with ten balls to spare on a slow pitch that was more sub continental and suited them very well.
The game was not without controversy as England and the spectators seemed displeased when bowler Sachitra Senanayake ran out Jos Butler at the no-striker’s end for 21 for backing up too far in the 44th over.
Senanayake had warned Butler a few overs earlier for leaving the crease and trying to take unfair advantage. The bowler was well within the rules to run the batsman out and he did not do anything wrong in doing that. However England didn’t think so and thought it was not within the spirit of cricket.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews put the record straight when he said that they had warned Butler for backing up too far in the previous game as well and they needed to stop him doing it again.
England’s batting became undone by spin when they chose to bat first after winning the toss in the crucial series decider. Both teams came to this game having won two matches apiece in the five-match series.
England got off to a good start when Cook and Ian Bell posted 76 off 15 overs, but when Sri Lanka switched over to spin it became a completely different game. Although eight batsmen got into double figures none went onto play a major innings.
Cook’s first half-century of the series – 56 off 85 balls (3 fours) was the highest as Sri Lanka’s spinners drained them of runs on the slow pitch.
Mathews mixed up his bowlers intelligently not allowing any of the England batsmen to get used to the pace of the pitch against one bowler.
The slow pitch suited the Lankan spinners and Mathews employed four of them – Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Ashan Priyanjan.
It was sweet revenge for Sri Lanka who had lost the last ODI series played in England in 2011 by the same margin. The two sides will meet in a two-match Test series starting at Lord’s on June 12.