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Buttler heroics not enough as England fall short

Jos Buttler on his way to a breath-taking century
Jos Buttler on his way to a breath-taking century

An astonishing century from Jos Buttler wasn't quite enough as England fell to an agonising defeat against Sri Lanka in the Royal London ODI at Lord's.

Buttler, who came to the crease with 180 runs needed from 22 overs, blazed 121 runs from just 74 balls - the fastest ODI century ever scored at the Home of Cricket, and the fastest ever by an Englishman.

But with 12 runs to win off the final over, Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga held his nerve to dismiss Buttler and Chris Jordan to seal a 7-run victory which levels the series at 2-2.

After winning the toss and electing to field, England captain Alastair Cook would have been pleased to contain the visitors to 45 from the ten-over powerplay, with Tillakaratne Dilshan finding run-scoring tough under overcast skies.

After Kusal Perera fell for 19, Dilshan was joined by Kumar Sangakkara, who looked in far more fluent touch.

36 year-old Sangakkara looked in imperious touch all around the wicket, moving effortlessly through the gears as he put England's bowlers to the sword.

The pair made contrasting fifties - Sangakkara's coming at a run-a-ball, with Dilshan's coming off an uncharacterically slow 72 balls.

While Dilshan fell for 71 attempting to scoop James Anderson, Sangakkara continued apace, moving to a chanceless century from 95 balls.

He eventally departed for 112 as Sri Lanka accelerated through the final ten overs, finishing on a score of 300/9.

Harry Gurney was the pick of England's bowlers, with the left-armer finishing with 4/55 as England's bowlers struggled for control.

England v Sri Lanka - ODI

In reply, the hosts struggled against a strong Sri Lankan attack, with Cook (1) and Ian Bell (7) falling cheaply to Malinga.

Joe Root and Gary Ballance both rebuilt for England but it was slow-going, with no boundaries scored from the ninth over to the 31st.

The man who struck that boundary was Buttler, who came to the crease with England in dire straits at 111/5, requiring over 9 runs an over.

With chances of victory nigh on impossible, Buttler and Ravi Bopara began to claw their way into the match, running Sri Lanka hard as they turned the tide in England's favour.

Bopara's 51 from 47 balls included just one boundary, which indicates just how well the pair ran between the wickets.

Bopara crucially fell top-edging Mendis to short leg with another 56 required for victory, and while Buttler brought up his century off 62 balls, he was left with just too much to do as Malinga held his nerve.

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