Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cook shines as England level series

England romped to a 10-wicket victory against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge, levelling the series 2-2 in the process. Both teams will now head to Old Trafford this weekend for a winner-takes-all clash, although this convincing victory will certainly give England a massive confidence boost heading into the final match in the series.

England gained control of the match from the start with James Anderson tearing through the tourists' top-order, after skipper Alastair Cook decided to bowl first on what was a very green Trent Bridge pitch. Before Sri Lanka knew what was going on, they were 5-57, Anderson taking three wickets with assistance from Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad taking a wicket apiece to put the visitors on the back foot. At that point the cricket odds made England big favourites.

Kumar Sangakkara was the only batsman to put up any real resistance with his brave 75, but in the end nobody else really stuck around to give the Sri Lanka captain enough support. Jade Dernbach showed his exciting potential by clearing up the tourists' tail with three wickets, Sri Lanka all out for a very modest 174.

A short rain delay saw England's target revised down to 171 but that never looked like being enough as openers Cook and Craig Kieswetter started off playing with T20-like aggression. The hosts had reached their target with only 23.5 overs gone, Cook just short of a century on 95 not out and Kieswetter 72 not out as England won the match and levelled the series.

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