Section: ODI

Cricket: New Zealand v Sri Lanka: Kiwis seal series with Dunedin win

New Zealand claimed the one-day series with Sri Lanka, taking an unassailable 4-1 lead with a 120-run win in the penultimate match in Dunedin.

Kane Williamson (97) and Ross Taylor (96) hit two sixes apiece during a stand of 117 in 123 balls as the Kiwis posted 315-8 having opted to bat first.

Sixth one-day international, Dunedin
New Zealand 315-8 (50 ovs) bt Sri Lanka 195 (40.3 ovs) by 120 runs

Kumar Sangakkara (81) made his 93rd one-day international fifty but fell in the 38th over, the eighth wicket to go.

Sri Lanka were all out soon after for 195. The final game is on Thursday.

It was an emphatic victory for the Kiwis, who meet the Sri Lankans in the opening match of the World Cup on 14 February.

Williamson was badly dropped on 27 by Tillakarate Dilshan at short cover and reached fifty from 60 balls, but he was denied a sixth ODI century when he was run out after finding himself at the same end as Taylor when in pursuit of a second run.

Corey Anderson added 40 in 28 balls and hit three fours in an over from seamer Thisara Perera that cost 19.

Taylor struck sixes in consecutive overs before he was trapped lbw on the toe in the 47th over, but his team compiled the second highest total at the University Oval, to follow the record they set in the previous match.

The Sri Lankans made a solid start, reaching 55-0 after 12 overs before Dilshan and opening partner Lahiru Thirimanne departed in successive overs.

Sangakkara reached fifty from 39 balls, but having struck successive boundaries off left-arm seamer Trent Boult he got a leading edge and spooned a catch to mid-on, as New Zealand took control.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Cook sacked as England one-day captain

Alastair Cook has been removed as England’s one-day captain.

According to widespread but as yet unconfirmed reports, with Eoin Morgan appointed to lead England at the World Cup that starts in February.

England’s World Cup captaincy was thrashed out during hours of deliberations at Trent Bridge on Friday as the selectors wrestled with a decision they had done everything to avoid. The ECB is expected to unveil Morgan as the new captain at Lord’s on Saturday less than two months before the start of the tournament.

Cook left Trent Bridge pensive and unshaven as he began to come to terms with a likely future as a Test specialist.

Cook, 29, has struggled for a long time in one-day cricket, scoring only one half-century in his last 22 innings in ODIs. England have also lost five of their last six multi-match series and the 5-2 series defeat has seen the selectors take action.

Pressure has been building for much of the past year for England’s selectors to jettison Cook, as he became a symbol for England’s conservative approach to one-day cricket. But repeatedly tried to bolster his position in the forlorn hope that he would rediscover his form.

That desire was based not only on the wish for continuity, but upon an underlying sense of loyalty to Cook after he had unprotestingly accepted the decision to call time on Kevin Pietersen’s England career after an Ashes whitewash nearly a year ago.

Now England’s selectors have affirmed their right to choose in the face of strong expressions of loyalty towards Cook by the managing director of England cricket, Paul Downton. As recently as Tuesday, Downton, reaffirmed his belief that Cook was England’s “natural leader” and said he would be very surprised if he was not captain at the World Cup.

Downton’s view that the selectors would take “more risks” if they replaced Cook might well have been accepted by those official charged with making the decision, even as they opted for change, but they have concluded that the risk is worth taking and preferable to the sense of inertia that has settled over the England one-day side.

Peter Moores, England’s coach, also expressed personal support for Cook right up to the end, but a majority feeling emerged among the selectorial quartet – the chairman James Whitaker, former England bowler and Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser, and Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell – that Cook’s time had run out.

Under Cook, who was appointed in May 2011, England won 36 and lost 30 of their 69 matches. Cook hiimself has gone 59 innings without an England hundred as pressures have mounted. The recent slump in form from both Cook and the team had threatened to make England’s World Cup challenge a non-event.

Morgan’s form has been equally alarming with only one half-century in his last 19 innings, but that half-century came when he stood in for Cook, who was suspended for a match because he presided over England’s slow over rate, during the seven-match Sri Lanka series. England lost that match in the last over on the way to a 5-2 defeat in the series.

Cook’s sense of duty and strong will meant that he was not about to stand down no matter how consuming his problems in one-day cricket began, but when he indicated at the end of the Sri Lanka series that it was down to the selectors to decide his future there was an underlying sense that he had invited them to act.

England are now left with three captains in three different formats, with Stuart Broad the incumbent in T20 cricket. There is no expectation at present that Cook will lose his Test captaincy and, as Morgan is a long way from the Test side, it is difficult to see how such a bandwagon could gain momentum.

With England involved in a non-stop schedule of international cricket for the next year or more, Cook now has a chance to to restore his energy, regain certainty in his game, and lead England in Test series against New Zealand and Australia next summer.

Read more at ESPN

Cricket: Sri Lanka v England: Hosts win by 87 runs to seal 5-2 series victory

Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 101 and took 3-37 to condemn England to a crushing 87-run defeat and seal a 5-2 series win for Sri Lanka.

Seventh one-day international, Colombo
Sri Lanka 302-6 (50 overs) beat England 215 (45.5 overs) by 87 runs

Aged 38, the oldest player on the field marked his 300th one-day international with his 18th century to help the hosts to 302-6 in the final match in Colombo.

Dinesh Chandimal struck 55 not out and Thisara Perera flayed 54 off 26 balls.

Although Joe Root made 80 despite an ankle injury, England were bowled out for 215 with 4.1 overs unused.

The tourists never threatened to overhaul an imposing target, allowing Sri Lanka legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara to savour a comfortable victory in their final ODI on home soil.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Sri Lanka v England: Kumar Sangakkara leads hosts to series win

A Kumar Sangakkara century led Sri Lanka to victory over England in the sixth one-day international, a win that sealed the series 4-2 on a miserable day for Alastair Cook.

Sixth one-day international, Pallekele
Sri Lanka 292-7 (50 overs) beat England 202 (41.3 overs) by 90 runs

Cook dropped a simple catch when Sangakkara was on 41, the left-hander going on to 112 in Sri Lanka’s 292-7.

The captain was then lbw for one in the first over of England’s reply.

The tourists slumped to 84-5 and, despite 55 from Joe Root, were bowled out for 202 to lose by 90 runs.

For all the promise of the win in the fifth ODI, England were ragged in the field, saw their bowlers struggle late in the Sri Lanka innings and their batsmen fail when faced with a big chase on a Pallekele pitch offering turn and some uneven bounce.

In the context of their World Cup  preparations, they can take comfort from the fact that conditions in Australia and New Zealand will be vastly different to those in Sri Lanka and their bowling will be boosted by the returns of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

However, the form of Cook remains a concern.

If dropping Sangakkara – a knee-high chance at mid-off – was an aberration, his meek surrender with the bat was familiar.

Missing a straight ball from off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake, Cook was leg before for the third time in the series. The skipper has now scored 499 runs at an average of 24.95 in his last 21 ODIs, during which time England have won only eight matches and suffered four series defeats.

His dismissal set the tone for the early part England chase as James Taylor ran past one to be bowled by Senanayake and Moeen Ali feathered a beautiful Tillakaratne Dilshan off-break.

And when Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan fell to successive Suranga Lakmal deliveries, England were in danger of imploding.

The busy Root at least provided a glimmer of hope, but when the Yorkshire batsman was bowled attempting to scoop Lakmal the game was up.

That Sri Lanka had posted a total so far beyond the reach of England was down to the imperious Sangakkara, who made a 20th century in the last ODI appearance on his home ground.

The wicketkeeper accumulated singles down the ground, showed deft footwork to loft over mid-wicket and power to take a six each over long leg and long-on.

His fifth successive score of 50 or more is made all the more impressive by the fact he broke a rib in practice before the series began.

He was supported by Dilshan, who compiled a watchful 68, a second-wicket stand of 153 providing the platform from which Sri Lanka added 130 in the final 15 overs.

James Tredwell gave England control with 1-37 from 10 overs, but their pace trio came in for late punishment.

Too often dropping short, Chris Woakes and Steven Finn could not replicate an impressive opening burst, while Chris Jordan conceded 68 runs in nine overs.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Sri Lanka v England: Joe Root century inspires Pallekele win

An unbeaten century from Joe Root guided England to a five-wicket victory in the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.

Beginning their chase of 240 a day late after Wednesday’s rain, they lost both openers cheaply inside eight overs.

James Taylor (68) and Root put on 104 for the third wicket to revive England.

And Root added 86 with Ravi Bopara, reaching 100 with a six, as England won with five balls left to cut Sri Lanka’s lead to 3-2 with two matches left.

After seamer Chris Woakes restricted Sri Lanka with 6-47 before rain intervened on Wednesday, runs for a new-look middle order kept the series alive and brought further encouragement for England as they prepare for the World Cup in February.

Under-fire skipper Alastair Cook, returning to the top of the order following his one-match ban for his team’s slow over-rate, began with a positive intent under clear skies, cutting two boundaries in the opening over.

With spin in operation at both ends at the start of the innings, partner Moeen Ali added another boundary but was bowled in the second over playing an ungainly heave to Sachithra Senanayake’s fourth delivery in his first match since a suspension for an illegal action.

Cook’s problems pushing forward against spin resurfaced and he would have been lbw had the Sri Lankans chosen to review a not-out decision, but he was then dismissed in similar fashion for 20, a second wicket for Senanayake, who was still able to cause problems despite not generating much spin with his remodelled action.

Root and Taylor batted with calm assurance to keep the tourists comfortably ahead of the required rate when the clouds built up to offer the threat of a Duckworth-Lewis denouement.

Taylor, in only his fourth ODI, struck a six over long-on when only on three and reached 50 from 67 balls, Sri Lanka missing the variety of a left-arm spinner, with the wily Rangana Herath injured.

But having shared in England’s first century partnership of the series, the diminutive 24-year-old cut a forlorn figure when he picked out backward square-leg in the 29th over, with 101 still needed.

Bopara (28) provided the ideal foil for Root, but with only 15 needed from as many balls he holed out to long on.

Eoin Morgan reverse swept his first ball for four before Root guided his team to the highest successful run chase at Pallekele, putting the tourists in fine fettle for the penultimate match of the series on Saturday.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Sri Lanka v England: Pallekele rain disrupts fifth one-dayer

England’s fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka was disrupted by rain and will resume on Thursday.

Fifth one-day international, Pallekele:
Sri Lanka 239 all out (49 overs) v England – delayed by rain

Chris Woakes took 6-47, the third best figures by an England bowler in ODIs, as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 239 before the weather intervened.

Kumar Sangakkara made 91 for the hosts, his fourth successive half-century.

If there is no rain on Thursday, England, 3-1 down in the seven-match series, will begin their chase of 240 from the full 50 overs at 09:00 GMT.

If they are to keep the series alive, they will have to reach a total that is at least competitive on a Pallekele pitch that has turned throughout and will be used by the home side’s four spinners.

To achieve their target, the tourists would be best served to follow the example of Sangakkara, who favoured patient accumulation mixed with lofts over extra cover, clips through mid-wicket and punishment of width.

Whilst he was compiling a 95-run stand with captain Angelo Mathews – a partnership that took the hosts from 59-3 – it looked as though Sri Lanka may bat England out of the game.

But, after Mathews top-edged Chris Jordan to fine leg, Woakes had Sangakkara pull to the hands of Joe Root on the leg-side boundary and then ran through the lower order.

Taking advantage of the Sri Lanka bid for late acceleration, the Warwickshire paceman mixed yorkers and aggressive short deliveries to become the first England bowler to register a second six-wicket haul in ODIs.

But Woakes bowled five wides – England sent down 13 in total – and the pick of the attack was off-spinner James Tredwell, recalled in place of Ben Stokes after being omitted for the previous two matches.

Not afraid to give the ball air, Tredwell exercised control of line and length for figures of 1-33, with his two maidens as many as the rest of the England bowlers have managed in the rest of the series combined.

With Moeen Ali and Root also sharing 15 overs, England adapted to the conditions by delivering 25 overs of off-spin.

However, Alastair Cook, back after a ban at the expense of Alex Hales to reclaim the captaincy from Eoin Morgan, deemed the medium pace of Ravi Bopara surplus to requirements.

Though that eye-raising decision was perhaps vindicated by the restriction of Sri Lanka to a manageable total, the wisdom of allowing the home side’s quartet of spinners to bowl second on an increasingly dusting pitch will be judged on Thursday.

Read more on BBC Sport

Cricket: Sri Lanka v England: Alastair Cook back, Alex Hales set to miss out

England captain Alastair Cook will return for the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka.

Cook, who was banned for the fourth ODI defeat, is likely to return in place of Alex Hales, while off-spinner James Tredwell could come in for Ben Stokes.

At 3-1 down in the seven-match series, England must win in Pallekele to have a chance of overall victory.

Sri Lanka have called up Sachithra Senanayake after he was cleared to bowl again following a ban.

The off-spinner, who was suspended for an illegal bowling action, replaces left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who has a hamstring injury.

Senanayake is well known to the England team.

He was the bowler when Jos Buttler was run out backing up – a dismissal sometimes referred to as ‘Mankading’ – in a one-day international at Edgbaston in June.

England, who are using the tour to prepare for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, omitted Tredwell for the third ODI, which they won by five wickets.

But they struggled without him during a six-wicket defeat in the fourth game, with all-rounder Stokes conceding 21 runs in two overs.

“We’re trying to make sure that when we get to the World Cup, we’ve got the best side possible to win that tournament,” England batsman Joe Root told BBC Sport.

In Cook’s absence, Hales failed to make his mark at the top of the order by falling for a duck, while James Taylor, who took Cook’s place in the team, made 90 batting at number three.

Despite England extending their poor form to nine defeats in their last 13 completed ODIs, Root believes the visitors can take some positives.

“The way we’ve approached our batting, the tempo at the top of the order especially, has been brilliant,” he said.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Sri Lanka edge out England to lead ODI series 3-1

Sri Lanka regained their two-match advantage in the one-day series although were pushed closer that appeared likely for most of the chase before getting home with two balls to spare.

Sri Lanka 267 for 4 (Sangakkara 86, Mathews 51*) beat England 265 (Taylor 90, Morgan 62, Herath 3-36) by six wickets

The pursuit was controlled, for the most part, by Kumar Sangakkara’s 86 but it needed another steely contribution from Angelo Mathews to ensure against any late slips.

Nothing seemed more certain than Sangakkara would seal victory with his 20th ODI hundred, but on 86 he found deep cover from a short delivery by Chris Jordan and could barely come to terms with the need to walk off. So instead it was Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne who crossed the winning line with a stand of 53, never flinching when the asking rate briefly went above seven although Mathews was dropped at third man by Alex Hales with 25 needed. Given that England managed to squeeze the chase into the final over, they will rue the 12 wides which continued a theme from the series.

England now need to win the three remaining games, two in Pallekele and one more back at the Premadasa, if they are to take the series although with an eye to the future there were a couple of performances that meant it was not a completely forlorn day for them.

James Taylor, playing just his third ODI and first against anyone other than Ireland, top-scored with well-crafted 90 before cramp got the better of him and Eoin Morgan, the stand-in captain for the day, made his first ODI fifty since January with 62 off 47 balls as the rest of England’s middle and lower order, losing 7 for 94, frittered away earlier good work.

The early new-ball bowling from Steven Finn and Chris Woakes was inconsistent and meant England did not build pressure, although they were perked up when Tillakaratne Dilshan carved into the off side. With two left handers now at the crease, Moeen Ali was brought straight into the attack and kept a lid on the scoring while also enticing Kusal Perera to edge to slip.

However, with each ball that gripped for Moeen it will have reinforced the belief that the balance of England’s attack was wrong without the additional offspin of James Tredwell. Instead, they preferred to take another look at Ben Stokes whose two overs went for 21, after being the seventh bowler used, to take his series tally to none for 85 from eight overs.

From 69 for 2, and a potential opening for England, Sangakkara and Jayawardene added 96 with effortless accumulation, often toying with Morgan’s attempts to cut off their scoring areas. One minute they would open the face to find space in the off side, and the next dinking into the leg side.

The signs of growing desperation were clear when England used their review against Jayawardene when he was 27, but discovered that even Joe Root was turning the ball too far. Given the ease with which Sri Lanka were batting, it was a surprise when Jayawardene chopped against Jordan, the pick of England’s quicks. But Sangakkara just continued to cruise, the most adventurous shot he played an uppercut over the keeper against Woakes who, a short time earlier, had needed some treatment on a knee problem. Then Sangakkara’s aberration left the majority in the ground stunned.

There was a sense of relief at the toss when it was confirmed that Taylor would play. If he had not been given his chance in the enforced absence of Alastair Cook because of a one-match suspension he would have been well within his rights to want to get on the next flight home.

Still, it is one thing getting the chance and another to take it. He was at the crease early, which could well have played to his advantage as he did not have much time to let the nerves build, after Alex Hales edged Dhammika Prasad’s first legitimate delivery to slip.

There were some uncertain moments early in his innings and the initial stages were hard work as he reached 11 off 29 deliveries before he cashed in on Thisara Perera’s first over. A bottom-handed flick from outside off over deep midwicket for six was the sort of stroke that peppered county boundaries during last season.

By the time Taylor found the boundary, he had lost Moeen, charging down the pitch at Dilshan, meaning the innings went into a rebuilding pattern as he was joined by Root. Boundaries were few and far between, and Taylor saved himself by using a review when he was given lbw to Jeevan Mendis on 35, only for there to be a clear bottom edge.

The scoring rate was given a jolt by consecutive sixes, Taylor driving Ajantha Mendis over long-off and Root following by clearing deep midwicket off Jeevan. The partnership ended on 93, England’s best of the series, when Root’s penchant for late-cutting the spinners off his stumps brought his downfall against Rangana Herath.

Taylor continued to punctuate his sprinting between the wickets with the occasional boundary, but the conditions were starting to take their toll and he twice needed lengthy treatment from the physio who was focussing on his left forearm. Later the cramp appeared to be spreading to his legs, and four balls after the second visit from the physio Taylor tried to clear the off side against Ajantha Mendis but could not beat the infield.

As so often, the batting Powerplay – taken one over before it had to be – was not England’s friend. Five deliveries after Taylor departed to the relative cool of the dressing room, Ravi Bopara missed a quicker ball from Dilshan.

Buttler could not help set a target in the same way he had chased one down a few days ago as he picked out long-on with seven overs remaining. Stokes’ international batting woes continued when he found deep square-leg, and with Morgan starting to find his stride the shot selection of Woakes and Jordan left something to be desired.

Mathews entrusted his spinners with the final 21 overs of the innings: for 20 of those overs there was barely any reason to question that decision as Herath returned a miserly 3 for 36 and Ajantha Mendis claimed 3 for 56. However, the first two balls of the last over – bowled by Dilshan – were slotted for six by Morgan and the over ended up costing 18. In the end it did not matter and the tricky decisions remain England’s, including the pressing question of who misses out for the returning Cook in Pallekelle.

Read more at ESPN

Cricket: Sri Lanka v England: 3rd ODI Joe Root and Jos Buttler carry tourists home

Joe Root and Jos Buttler carried England to a much-needed five-wicket victory in the third one-day international against Sri Lanka.

Chasing 236 in 35 overs, England were wobbling on 152-5 despite a good start by Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook.

But Root (48 not out) and Buttler (55 not out) shared 84 in 10.3 overs to see England home with eight balls to spare.

Sri Lanka, who lead the seven-match series 2-1, earlier reached 242-8, with Lahiru Thirimanne making 62 not out.

That came after Kumar Sangakkara compiled 63 to become only the fourth man to pass 13,000 runs in one-day internationals.

The win – only England’s eighth in the past 23 completed ODIs against Test-playing sides – will slightly ease the pressure on captain Cook, who faced calls to stand down after a heavy defeat in the second match.

A hint of fluency in his 42-ball 34 should also please the England skipper, although a slow over-rate could lead to a suspension which would rob him of the opportunity to build on the shoots of recovery.

A wayward bowling performance and a middle-order collapse of three wickets for eight runs in nine deliveries will also provide cause for concern, but, thanks to Root and Buttler, England can celebrate a morale-boosting win which comes with only seven matches to play before the World Cup begins on 14 February.

Coming together with 84 needed from 71 balls, the sixth-wicket pair absorbed Sri Lanka pressure that pushed the requirement to 50 from the final five overs, then accelerated to such a degree that, in the end, the winning margin was comfortable.

Root, who was caught at mid-off from a Dhammika Prasad no-ball, nudged and scampered, while Buttler powerfully took advantage when the Sri Lanka bowling became ragged.

They ensured that the earlier good work done by Moeen and Cook was not wasted, the England opening pair building a stand of 84 at a rate of better than seven an over.

Cook, who has only one ODI half-century since the summer of 2013, drove sweetly down the ground, while Moeen’s mix of languid lofts over the off-side fence and powerful heaves to leg brought him five sixes in his 58.

But, when Cook feathered Prasad through to wicketkeeper Sangakkara, it began a sequence that put England in jeopardy thanks to their own profligacy.

Alex Hales, recalled to bat at number three in place of Ian Bell, was guilty of ball-watching to run out Moeen, and the Nottinghamshire man then holed out to mid on off the bowling of Angelo Mathews.

Ravi Bopara, promoted to number five, was brilliantly caught down the leg side by Sangakkara, before the out-of-form Eoin Morgan top-edged Mathews to long leg.

However, bar the wobble, England’s batsmen masked a bowling effort that too often failed to master the basics of line and length.

Chris Woakes and Steven Finn had Sri Lanka to 31-3 either side of a two-and-half-hour rain break that reduced the match and caused England’s target to be adjusted, but Sangakkara and Mathews consolidated before Thirimanne accelerated.

In omitting Harry Gurney and the off-spin of James Tredwell in favour of Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes, England looked for seven overs from Stokes, Root and Bopara, which cost 73 runs.

Sri Lanka also managed to add 62 in the final five overs of their innings but, in the end, it was not enough.

Read more on BBC Sport

Cricket: Sri Lanka v England: Third ODI in Hambantota delayed by rain

The third one-day international between England and Sri Lanka was delayed by rain after only two overs in Hambantota.

After losing the toss, the tourists managed to remove Sri Lanka opener Kusal Perera one ball before the delay.

Perera cut Chris Woakes to Eoin Morgan at point to leave the hosts 6-1.

England, 2-0 down in the series, made three changes, with Alex Hales, Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes coming in for Ian Bell, James Tredwell and Harry Gurney.

If overs are lost, each side would have to bat for a minimum of 20 to constitute a match. If that is not possible, Thursday is scheduled as a reserve day.

Play was stopped at 09:11 GMT, with very heavy rain following. Some estimates suggested that as much as two hours would be needed to make the ground fit once the rain stops.

Read more at BBC Sport