About the Match
Sri Lanka won the fourth match of the series against visitors England by 6 wickets to take a 3-1 lead in the 7-match ODI series at home; the two teams will now face off for the 5th ODI at Pallekele on 10th Dec wherein England will try to draw level in this do or die contest that will decide the series. The hosts completed the target of 266 runs with 2 balls remaining thanks to a superior batting performance and a strong spin attack that toppled the English top-order yet again. England showed great determination to come back to a vantage point but they failed to restrict the Lankan batsmen; both teams will come out all guns blazing on Wednesday amidst the growing enthusiasm in this cricket-loving nation.
Sangakkara won the man of the match award yet again for his heroic batting efforts that saw him post 86 off 105 deliveries to take him to 1000 ODI runs in four consecutive years; Jayawardene and Mathews continue to look good with the bat as they too contributed with the run-flow during the chase for 266 against England in the 4th ODI. The captain showed perseverance as he kept his cool and scored a well-made 51 off 60 and along with Thirimanne’s spirited efforts, took the team safely home. While the batting performance goes from strength to strength with each passing match, the bowlers also continue to spin their magic with regular wickets and economical bowling. Herath with a figure of 3-36 was astounding in his wicket-taking abilities and along with Dilshan and Ajantha Mendis, who claimed 3 wickets each, the bowling squad successfully restricted the English to 265 runs. The spinners have been phenomenal and will continue to do their good work with the required strategy in place; with an all-round performance by the team, Sri Lanka is very close to lifting the cup here.
James Taylor returned to the squad with a bang as he scored an excellent 90 off 109 balls to steady the innings and build the foundation after the openers were out by the 8th over; Eoin Morgan, donning the cap, also provided a major boost to the middle order with his spirited 62 off 47 proving yet again his abilities as a captain. Joe Root and Bopara also look to be in good nick with the bat; Bopara has been consistently performing and he can be a key asset in the middle with the right direction and motivation. The bowlers missed an opportunity to contain the hosts in their run chase and the absence of Tredwell proved to be costly for them; though Jordan, Ali and Woakes took regular wickets, they were not successful in defending the mediocre score against the hard-hitting Lankan batsmen. The spinners need to shoulder their responsibilities more seriously and come up with a stronger attack going forward; the team has the necessary talent and expertise and must pull up their socks in the upcoming match to keep their hopes alive.
It has been a roller-coaster ride for the English team, having tasted victory in the third match but losing the opportunity to draw level in the previous game; the visitors will definitely come back stronger on Wednesday. While the Lankans look well placed to win and clinch the series, we feel England will make a comeback with a tough win and prove themselves here.
England, 2.50 @ Bet365