Sri Lanka v England: Kumar Sangakkara takes hosts to 3-1 lead

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara has passed 1,000 ODI runs in each of the last four years
Fourth one-day international, Colombo (RPS):
Sri Lanka 267-4 (49.4 overs) beat England 265 (50 overs) by six wickets
Match scorecard

Kumar Sangakkara helped Sri Lanka to a six-wicket victory over England in the fourth one-day international and a 3-1 series lead.

Sangakkara's 86 was supported by 44 from Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews' unbeaten 51 as the home side chased 266 with two balls to spare.

James Taylor, replacing banned England captain Alastair Cook, earlier made 90.

But his dismissal sparked a collapse of seven wickets for 95 runs, as the tourists were bowled out for 265.

Though that was a factor in England's defeat, a lack of penetration from the touring bowlers meant a competitive total rarely looked like being defended, despite two dots from Steven Finn in the final over ensuring a late completion of the Sri Lanka pursuit.

On a slow Colombo pitch that turned throughout, England opted against changing the attack that won them the third ODI and again omitted off-spinner James Tredwell.

Ex-England spinner Vic Marks on Test Match Special
"We felt Sri Lanka were going to to win a bit more comfortably than that. It's been a bit of slow burner - we were still going in the last over, and you have to give England credit for that. James Taylor's innings changes the whole balance of thinking about England's line-up. Chris Jordan was outstanding, but I don't see how England can pick Ben Stokes for the next match."

After Sri Lanka sent down 36 overs of spin, including the last 22 of the England innings, the visitors only had Moeen Ali and part-timer Joe Root to call on.

Chris Jordan's 2-35 made him the pick of the England bowlers, but the rest of the pace quartet were largely ineffective, with Ben Stokes conceding 21 runs in his two overs. In addition, the tourists bowled 12 wides to Sri Lanka's six.

However, focussing on England's shortcomings would do a disservice to Sangakkara, who again showed the class that has brought him more ODI runs than the entire England XI combined.external-link

The left-hander dabbed, pushed and worked singles, as well as unfurling some flowing cover drives and a ramp that deflected a Chris Woakes bouncer over wicketkeeper Jos Buttler's head for four.

So untroubled was he, it seemed barely believable when he hit a Jordan long hop straight to Woakes on the off-side boundary, a wicket that began a brief spell of England pressure.

But, with the required rate approaching seven an over, Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne accelerated away.

England's last chance was missed when Alex Hales dropped Mathews at third man off Jordan, with the home captain coolly clipping the winning boundary off Finn just when England may have been thinking of a remarkable escape.

While England are on the brink of defeat in the seven-match series, their World Cup preparations have been boosted by the arrival of Taylor and the return to form of stand-in captain Eoin Morgan, who made 62 from 47 deliveries.

Super Sanga
Kumar Sangakkara passed 1,000 one-day international runs for the fourth successive year and sixth overall. He has made 90 one-day international half-centuries, including 10 against England, and 19 hundreds.

In only his third ODI, Taylor came to the crease in the second over after Hales wasted the opportunity of replacing Cook at the top of the order by flashing his first legal delivery to first slip.

He started nervously, but sparked into life with a remarkable skip and fetch over mid-wicket for six off the seam of Thisara Perera.

When Moeen was caught behind aiming an ugly slog at Tillakaratne Dilshan, Taylor combined with Root for a partnership of 93.

Urgently scampering between the wickets, Taylor nudged, swept and occasionally lofted down the ground in a 69-ball half-century.

Root accumulated in similar fashion and, though he was bowled by Rangana Herath, Taylor continued towards a century.

But, struggling with cramp, he used his feet in the first over of the batting powerplay and sliced Ajantha Mendis to cover.

From there, only Morgan found a way of making an impression on the Sri Lanka spinners, the left-hander regularly powering through the leg side for his first ODI half-century since January.

Two sixes and a four in the 50th over took him past 50, before he skied Dilshan to the gloves of Sangakkara from the final delivery.

Alex Hales is dismissed
Alex Hales was caught at slip for 0 from the first legal delivery he faced
James Taylor
James Taylor's only two previous one-day internationals came against Ireland
Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan collide
A mix-up led to Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan colliding in the middle of the pitch
England celebrate
Moeen, England's only front-line spinner, claimed 1-44 from his 10 overs
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara
Mahela Jayawardene returned to the Sri Lanka side after missing the third ODI