Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Buttler and Root Hand Tourists a Much-Needed Win; THE MATCH: Sri Lanka V England Third ODI in Hambantota

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Buttler and Root Hand Tourists a Much-Needed Win; THE MATCH: Sri Lanka V England Third ODI in Hambantota

Article excerpt

Byline: David Clough

ALASTAIR Cook can finally celebrate a one-day international victory - but there may well be a sting in the tail in Hambantota.

Jos Buttler's unbeaten 55 from 46 balls provided England's impetus, after a mid-innings wobble in pursuit of a Duckworth-Lewis target of 236, in an unbroken stand of 84 with Joe Root.

It means they have a confidenceboosting success for bigger challenges, and trail only 2-1 against Sri Lanka with four matches left in this series.

For the captain, though, a onematch ban - back in Colombo on Sunday - is likely to be the result of his team's tardy over rate at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.

The indication from the tourists' camp late last night - this match finished barely before midnight local time - was that the suspension, after Cook's team also transgressed at Cardiff last summer, will be far from a surprise once match referee David Boon has assessed the situation overnight.

Nonetheless, the main prize here was a second win in nine ODIs - and thanks to Moeen Ali (58) with another quickfire half-century at the top of the order alongside Cook, but principally Buttler later on, they clinched the verdict by five wickets with eight balls to spare.

Cook (pictured left) said: "It is just great to get one on the board, and (to be) back in the series.

"A lot of credit to the lads. I don't think we played our best today - but to get over the line, after not doing that in the first two, will give the lads a lot of confidence.

"I think a side full of confidence, and winning a lot, would probably have found it a bit easier than we did."

After three wickets fell for eight runs, much depended on Root and Buttler. "You probably saw a side not used to winning on this tour," added their captain.

"But that doesn't take anything away from the way Jos and Rooty played - from 150 for five. The way they responded was fantastic." As for his likely suspension, Cook said: "It will be what it will be. We'll plead our case.

"It is incredibly tough on a big ground, the ball going everywhere in the last few overs - and also how long it takes the batsman to come out. I don't know whether that will get me anywhere. We will see."

Cook was also discomforted while batting with a stiff back, a chronic ailment for him.

"It wasn't great today. Sometimes it flares up," he said.

"It didn't really restrict me too much. We'll keep managing like we've been doing. It's been a lot better actually, over the last few weeks." He is still searching for an overdue half-century, or better, after just one in his last 19 ODI attempts.

He said: "I hit the ball nicely today.

Obviously, it helps when Mo is batting as well as he is.

"I do feel as if I'm hitting the ball better and better. …

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