England recovered from a sensational middle order collapse to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the first One Day International (ODI) at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street yesterday.
After restricting the visitors for a modest 185 runs, England chased down the target quite convincingly in 34.5 overs and to take an early lead in the three-match series.
England’s match winner was undoubtedly Joe Root who remained unbeaten on 79 from 87 deliveries with four boundaries.
Root, playing in his 150th ODI also added 97 runs for the fifth wicket along with Moeen Ali after the reigning World Champions had slumped to 80 for four at one stage.
Chamika Karunaratne broke a promising opening stand before Dushmantha Chameera removed Skipper Eoin Morgan and Sam Billings cheaply to put the home side under pressure.
Earlier, Skipper Kusal Janith Perera hit a fighting half century but could not prevent Sri Lanka from getting bowled out for 185 runs in 42.3 overs.
The dashing left-hand wicket-keeper opening batsman struck 73 from 81 balls with seven boundaries and was seventh out after England had elected to field first.
The Sri Lanka Captain also added 50 runs for the fourth-wicket along with Wanindu Hasaranga who smashed 54 from 65 balls inclusive of one six and six boundaries.
However, Sri Lanka suffered a dramatic middle order collapse as they lost six wickets for 25 runs and they never recovered from there onwards.
Chris Woakes was outstanding with four wickets for 18 from his 10 overs and David Willey provided excellent support with three wickets for 44.
Sri Lanka handed debut caps to three players Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya Lakshan and Praveen Jayawickrama.