Sri Lanka Level Series Despite Buttler Brilliance

Sri Lanka 300-9 (Sangakkara 112, Dilshan 71) beat
England 293-8 (Buttler 121) by seven runs
Fourth One-Day International, Lord's

England wicket-keeper Jos Buttler cracked 121 in 74 balls but ended up on the losing side as Sri Lanka won the fourth One-Day International by seven runs at Lord's to level the five-match series at 2-2.

The 20 fastest ODI centuries

36 balls: Corey Anderson, NZL v WIN, 2014
37 balls: Shahid Afridi, PAK v SRI, 1996
44 balls: Mark Boucher, RSA v ZIM, 2006
45 balls: Shahid Afridi, PAK v IND, 2005
45 balls: Brian Lara, WIN v BAN, 1999
46 balls: Jesse Ryder, NZL v WIN, 2014
48 balls: Sanath Jayasuriya, SRI v PAK, 1996
50 balls: Kevin O'Brien, IRE v ENG, 2011
52 balls: Virat Kohli, IND v AUS, 2013
53 balls: Shahid Afridi, PAK v BAN, 2010
55 balls: Sanath Jayasuriya, SRI v BAN, 2008
57 balls: James Faulkner, AUS v IND, 2013
58 balls: AB de Villiers, RSA v IND, 2010
60 balls: Virender Sehwag, IND v NZL, 2009
61 balls: Virat Kohli, IND v AUS, 2013
61 balls: Jos Buttler, ENG v SRI, 2014
62 balls: Mohd. Azharuddin, IND v NZL 1988
63 balls: Shakib Al Hasan, BAN v ZIM, 2009
64 balls: Sanath Jayasuriya, SRI v NED, 2006
64 balls: Yuvraj Singh, IND v ENG, 2008

Kumar Sangakkara scored 112 and Tillakaratne Dilshan 71 as Sri Lanka set England 301 to win before the Lancashire man almost orchestrated a stunning comeback.

However, he was run out during a brilliant final over by Lasith Malinga, and the two sides will now head to Edgbaston on Tuesday to play a winner-takes-all final game.

Buttler, who hit 11 fours and four sixes, reached his hundred in 61 balls to register the quickest century by an English player in ODIs, surpassing the previous record of 69 balls set by Kevin Pietersen in 2004.

Ravi Bopara (51) gave him some support late on but Sri Lanka prevailed, leaving England to rue the 130 balls they played between the ninth and 31st overs when they failed to score a boundary.

A packed house at Lord's was treated to two fine centuries from wicket-keepers and although Buttler's will linger in the memory longer, Sangakkara's was also a classy effort.

After Kushal Perera fell early for 19 in 15 balls, Sangakkara joined Dilshan at the crease and the pair proceeded to put on 172 for the second wicket, leaving England to wonder whether winning the toss and bowling first was the right decision.

Dilshan struck five fours in 109 balls, playing more of an anchoring role as the more fluent Sangakkara scored quickly at the other end. He survived a a collision with Joe Root that saw him require treatement on an ankle injury but fell in the 36th over when he was bowled by James Anderson.

Sangakkara's 19th ODI century came up in 95 balls and after Mahela Jayawardene (7) was caught by Anderson off Harry Gurney, he was stumped by Buttler trying to take on James Tredwell. He had scored a brilliant 112 in 104 balls.

That slowed Sri Lanka, who had been on course for a score well in excess of 320, and England fought back, Gurney finishing with four for 55, Chris Jordan two for 67 and Anderson two for 60.

Angelo Mathews (30), Lahiru Thirimanne (16), Sachithra Senanayake (12), Ashan Priyanjan (9) and Nuwan Kulasekara (0) all fell in the last four overs but a four from the final ball by Ajantha Mendis ensured England would need to chase more than 300, something they have only managed to do twice before.

Malinga, who was at the non-striker's end when Mendis hit that boundary, quickly struck to have Alastair Cook trapped in front for one and Ian Bell caught by Jayawardene at slip for seven to reduce England to 10 for two.

Yorkshire pair Gary Ballance (42 in 69 balls) and Joe Root (43 in 68) then combined to patiently - too patiently for many onlookers - add 84 for the third wicket.

England players to have scored ODI centuries in less than 100 balls

Marcus Trescothick (5 times)

Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen (4 times)

Andrew Flintoff (twice)

Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Paul Collingwood, Owais Shah, Vikram Solanki, Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott (once each)

Singles, twos, threes and the occasional boundary (the pair scored just three between them) meant that when they were both dismissed, by Mendis and Mathews respectively, England were floundering at 107 for four in the 28th over.

And when Eoin Morgan, who had shown a bit of urgency in making 12 in 17 balls, was stumped off Senanayake, England were 111 for five, needing a further 190 to win in 22.4 overs.

Few gave them a chance, but Buttler and Bopara weren't about to give up.

Bopara showed that it was possible to score at a run-a-ball or better without finding the boundary while Buttler took the brutally aggressive approach, reaching a 34-ball half-century which included seven fours and a six.

Bopara was not far behind, making his half-century in 44 balls with a lone boundary before he was caught by Thirimanne off Mendis in the 45th over.

Not only had a scintillating 133-run partnership for the sixth wicket thrown the match wide open again, it had roused a Lord's crowd that was, by some accounts, laughing at England's chase earlier on, and greeting Buttler's first boundaries with ironic cheers.

Buttler then smashed 20 runs from one Kulasekara over to leave England needing 36 from the final four overs and he reached his maiden ODI century, easily beating Pietersen's record, hitting the quickest ODI century at Lord's and the first by an Englishman at number seven.

Six runs came from the 47th over, but 10 from the 48th left 20 to win and another eight in the 49th gave Buttler and Jordan the chance to win the game by hitting 12 off Malinga - a tall order, but not an impossible one.

A single from the first ball was followed by Jordan's wicket, caught in the deep by Dilshan for five, but Buttler was back on strike for the third delivery.

He ran two, surviving a missed run out chance but one ball later he was not so lucky, run out by yards as he tried to pinch an on-side single.

The immaculate Malinga ensured James Tredwell could take only one more run from the final two balls and a relieved group of Sri Lankan players could celebrate a victory that they were made to work hard for by England's lower order.

Malinga finished with three for 52, Mathews one for 30, Senanayake one for 49 and Mendis two for 60 while Kulasekara, often so reliable, leaked 81 runs in his 10 overs.

© Cricket World 2014

Fixtures & Results

20th May: Twenty20 International, The Oval, London
Sri Lanka 183-7 (T Perera 49) beat
England 174-7 (Hales 66) by nine runs
22nd May: 1st ODI, The Kia Oval, London
England 247-6 (Ballance 64, Bell 50) beat
Sri Lanka 144 (Jordan 3-25) by 81 runs (D/L)
25th May: 2nd ODI, EDICG, Chester-le-Street
Sri Lanka 256-8 (Dilshan 88, Gurney 3-59) beat
England 99 (Senanayake 4-13) by 157 runs
28th May: 3rd ODI, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
England 73-0 (Bell 41no, Cook 30no) beat
Sri Lanka 67 (Jordan 5-29) by 10 wickets
31st May: 4th ODI, Lord's, London
Sri Lanka 300-9 (Sangakkara 112, Dilshan 71) beat
England 293-8 (Buttler 121) by seven runs
3rd June: 5th ODI, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Sri Lanka 222-4 (Thirimanne 60no) beat
England 219 (Cook 56) by six wickets
12th-16th June: 1st Test, Lord's, London
England 575-9 dec. & 267-8 dec. drew with
Sri Lanka 453 (Sangakkara 147) & 201-9
20th-24th June: 2nd Test, Headingley, Leeds
Sri Lanka 257 & 457 (Mathews 160) beat
England 365 & 249 (Moeen Ali 108no) by 100 runs