England Thrash Sri Lanka To Set Up Decider
England 171-0 (Cook 95no, Kieswetter 72no) beat
Sri Lanka 174 (Sangakkara 75) by ten wickets
Fourth One-Day International, Trent Bridge
England produced one of their best One-Day International performances in recent years to smash Sri Lanka by ten wickets and level their five-match series at 2-2.
They set up a decider at Old Trafford by first dismissing Sri Lanka for 174 and then racing to an adjusted target of 171 for no wicket with Alastair Cook unbeaten on 95.
Cook might have missed a second century of the series but he won't be remotely disappointed as he led his side to a comprehensive win, which was capped off by a ground-record partnership between himself and Craig Kieswetter and their victory was completed in just 23.5 overs.
It was Cook who played the more aggressive role of the pair, the left-hander unbeaten on 95 in just 75 balls, with an innings full of sumptuous shots through the off side.
Kieswetter played the supporting role earlier on but after a short break for rain, he came out and blasted his way to 72 not out in 68 deliveries, hitting eight fours and three big sixes.
Cook's sublime effort included 16 boundaries.
England ended the day well, and they had started it in the way in which the meant to go on, quickly reducing Sri Lanka to 20 for four having asked them to bat.
Incisive bowling from James Anderson (3-24) and Tim Bresnan (2-39) proved too good for Mahela Jayawardene (9), Tillakaratne Dilshan (0), Dinesh Chandimal (0) and Thilina Kandamby (6).
Kumar Sangakkara proved to be the only Sri Lankan batsman who really got to grips with the bowler-friendly conditions and he scored an excellent 75 to hold the innings together.
Suraj Randiv was promoted to number six, perhaps in a bid to use up some overs before the pitch settled down, and he was one of only four players to reach double figures, making 18 before flicking Stuart Broad to Kieswetter down the leg side for Broad's first wicket of the series.
Angelo Mathews then offered Sangakkara support with 39 in 49 balls before he was outstandingly caught and bowled by Bresnan as he was trapped by a short ball and England made short work of the tail, Jade Dernbach chipping in with three for 38 by removing Nuwan Kulasekara (5), Lasith Malinga (0) and finally Sangakkara, who was well caught by Eoin Morgan as he tried desperately to push Sri Lanka towards a score around 200.
On the evidence of the evening's play, had he doubled his score and pushed for 275 or 300, it might not have been enough, such was the dominance shown by Cook and Kieswetter.
The decisive fifth game at Old Trafford is on 9th July.
© Cricket World 2011