Victory for home side to see them move through to the Champions League knockout stages.
A stunning final over from the blade of Ravi Bopara has put England in the driver’s seat at the change of innings in their Champions Trophy clash with Sri Lanka at The Oval.
The England all-rounder belted 28 runs from the bowling of Shaminda Eranga to wrest back control to his side after the Sri Lankan attack did well during the middle-overs.
Bopara’s final over at the crease looked more like a highlights package of the entire innings as he belted six, four, six, four, two, six to see his side finish on 297-7.
Again the England opening pair of Alastair Cook and Ian bell were solid against the new ball, putting on 48 before Bell (20) was dismissed by Eranga (2-80).
Cook (59) Jonathan Trott then put on an excellent 83-run partnership to put their side in control at 131-2 in the 29th over.
Another 87 runs were added by the home side for the third wicket as Trott (76) and Joe Root (68) kept the scoreboard ticking along at close to five an over.
Lasith Malinga was then brought back into the attack for the Sri Lankans, and following from his heroics last game against New Zealand, promptly dismissed Root and Eoin Morgan (13) in consecutive balls.
While the Sri Lankan quick did not get the hat-trick, the momentum had swung back his side’s direction in the final 10 overs.
But the late hitting from Bopara took his side’s total from respectable to impressive and will give England’s attack a fraction more breathing space as they seek to restrict the visitors after the break.
England v Sri Lanka
Played at The Oval
Toss won by Sri Lanka
A. Cook lbw b Herath 59
I. Bell c Perera b Eranga 20
J. Trott lbw b Herath 76
J. Root c Jayawardene b Malinga 68
E. Morgan lbw b Malinga 13
J. Buttler c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 0
R. Bopara not out 33
T. Bresnan b Eranga 4
S. Broad not out 7
Extras: (lb10, w3) 13
Total (for seven wickets, 50 overs) 293
Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Bell), 2-131 (Cook), 3-218 (Trott), 4-249 (Root), 5-249 (Morgan), 6-249 (Buttler), 7-254 (Bresnan).
Did not bat: G. Swann, J. Anderson
Bowling: Kulasekara 10-0-42-1, Malinga 10-2-58-2 (w1), Eranga 10-0-80-2 (w2), Mathews 6-0-28-0, Herath 10-0-46-2, Dilshan 4-0-29-0