Morale-boosting victory

Eoin Morgan shakes hands with umpire Aleem Dar after the match.-AP

England reached the 213-run target on a lively track with five overs to spare against Sri Lanka, thanks to Eoin Morgan (62 not out), Paul Collingwood (46) and Owais Shah (44).

Eoin Morgan steered England to a morale-boosting six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with a solid half-century in the Champions Trophy.

England reached the 213-run target on a lively track with five overs to spare in the day-night match, thanks to Morgan (62 not out), Man-of-the-Match Paul Collingwood (46) and Owais Shah (44).

Sri Lankan spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, who were expected to keep the pressure on England, could not make an impact on a pitch which hardly helped the slow bowlers.

England’s win was set up by pacemen James Anderson (three for 20), Stuart Broad (three for 49) and Graham Onions (two for 58) who bowled well on a seamer-friendly track.

England was struggling at 19 for two after losing openers Andrew Strauss and Joe Denly, but Collingwood put the innings on the right track with a vigorous counter-attack.

Paceman Nuwan Kulasekara did the early damage when he removed Strauss (9) and Denly (5) in his sharp opening spell. Skipper Strauss fell pulling, Thilina Kandamby taking a superb one-handed catch at short mid-wicket.

Collingwood then eased the pressure with his attractive cameo, advancing down the pitch to swing Kulasekara over mid-wicket for a six and then smashing the next two deliveries for fours. He did not spare seamer Angelo Mathews, hitting two fours in an over and later swinging Lasith Malinga for two sixes. His flourish ended when he inside-edged a Malinga delivery on to his stumps.

Shah was involved in two partnerships, 63 for the third wicket with Collingwood and 76 for the next with Morgan.

Morgan then batted steadily to see England home, hitting seven fours in his seventh half-century in one-day internationals.

Kandamby and Mathews earlier hit impressive half-centuries under pressure as Sri Lanka recovered from a poor start to post a competitive total. Sri Lanka had slid to 17 for four and then 81 for five before Kandamby (53) and Mathews (52) led the fightback with an 82-run stand for the sixth wicket.

It was a rare sporting gesture by Strauss that allowed Mathews to resume his innings after he was run out.

Mathews turned Onions to square-leg and completed the first run before colliding with the bowler while going for the second, with wicket-keeper Matt Prior effecting the run out after receiving the throw. The Sri Lankan batsman stood briefly on the pitch before walking back to the pavilion, but Strauss called the batsman back.

Mathews, who was then on 51, failed to make the most of the opportunity as he added just one run more to his score before being caught behind off Luke Wright.

THE SCORES

Sri Lanka 212 in 47.3 overs (T. Samaraweera 30, T. Kandamby 53, A. Mathews 52, J. Anderson three for 20, S. Broad three for 49) lost to England 213 for four in 45 overs (O. Shah 44, P. Collingwood 46, E. Morgan 62 not out, M. Prior 28 not out).