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Moeen Ali Heroics In Vain As Sri Lanka Win Opener

Moeen Ali celebrates his century against Sri Lanka
Moeen Ali celebrates his century against Sri Lanka
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 317-6 (Dilshan 88, K Perera 59) beat
England 292 (Moeen Ali 119) by 25 runs
First One-Day International, Colombo

Moeen Ali scored a dashing maiden One-Day International century but his innings proved in vain as Sri Lanka won the first match against England by 25 runs in Colombo.

Chasing 318 to win, Ali led England's charge with a knock of 119 in 87 balls and Ravi Bopara hit 65 in 62 balls before they were bowled out for 292.

Tillakaratne Dilshan had earlier hit 88 to top score for Sri Lanka as they posted 317 for six with Kusal Perera (59) and Mahela Jayawardene (55) also making half-centuries.

This victory saw Sri Lanka return to winning ways after their humbling 5-0 series defeat in India and complete a third straight win over England.

After play was delayed due to rain, Sri Lanka chose to bat first and openers Dilshan (88 in 98 balls) and Perera 59 in 74 balls) put on 120 together.

None of the England bowlers - who leaked 17 wides in all - were spared and their partnership was only broken when Perera was run out by Bopara and Jos Buttler.

Ali then trapped Kumar Sangakkara in front for two and Dilshan looked on course for a century only to perish when he was caught and bowled by Chris Woakes.

He had by then added 76 for the third wicket with Jayawardene, whose 55 came in 58 balls. He was trapped in front by James Tredwell one ball after Angelo Mathews (33) had been caught by Ben Stokes.

However, despite Thisara Perera also falling cheaply, well caught by Alastair Cook for four off Woakes, Sri Lanka surged past the 300-run mark thanks to Lahiru Thirimanne's 27 not out in 22 balls and Jeevan Mendis' 30 not out in 14.

Woakes finished with two for 68, Tredwell two for 55 and Ali one for 66.

Cook, opening the batting alongside Ali, then got not one but two lucky escapes as Mathews took the new ball with Dhammika Prasad; twice he was given out leg before wicket and twice he successfully reviewed the decision.

However, his fortune deserted him soon after when he was trapped in front by Dilshan and this time he opted not to review and was on his way for 10 in 17 balls.

Ali had already made a blazing start at the other end and found support from Ian Bell (35) before Joe Root (2), Eoin Morgan (1) and Jos Buttler (21) fell to leave the game in the balance at 159 for five.

Ali cracked 11 fours and five sixes before falling at the end of the 31st over when he was caught and bowled by Mendis.

Stokes (16), Woakes (7) and Tredwell (6) did their best to offer Bopara support, the Essex man hitting four fours and two sixes to keep England in the contest, but in the end, they had been left with too much to do.

A couple of brilliant Sangakkara stumpings off Rangana Herath removed Stokes and Woakes and Tredwell was bowled by Ajantha Mendis as England lost their way.

Bopara himself was the last man to fall, well caught by Kusal Perera in the deep off Thisara Perera, who returned three for 44 to emerge as Sri Lanka's leading bowler.

Prasad (1-51), Dilshan (1-33), Ajantha Mendis (2-55), Herath (2-58) and Jeevan Mendis (1-34) were their other wicket-takers.

The second game is on Saturday (29th November).

© Cricket World 2014