Sri Lanka drew level in the five-match series courtesy of a dominant 157-run victory at Durham on the weekend but fine performances from Chris Jordan (5-29), James Anderson (2-10) and James Tredwell (2-2) had England firmly in control.
After rain delayed the start, Jordan was chief tormentor, leaving Sri Lanka floundering as they capitulated to 67 all out – Kumar Sangakkara top-scoring with a paltry 13.
Tredwell and Anderson weighed in with two wickets apiece – leaving Alastair Cook and Ian Bell the simplest of tasks to reach 73 and move 2-1 ahead in the series.
Having won the toss, England quickly got into their swing with Anderson seeing Tillakaratne Dilshan (2) caught behind in just the third over.
Lancashire wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was again called into action by Anderson as the local pair accounted for Lahiru Thirimanne (7) before Buttler secured his 50th ODI dismissal by catching Sangakkara off Jordan’s delivery.
Jordan’s previous ball had been loose and hit for four but he put that to the back of his mind and tempted Dinesh Chandimal (6) into a drive that found Ian Bell at cover – leaving the tourists 45-4 in the 16th over.
Mahela Jayawardene played patiently for 12 before he fell to Tredwell, with Angelo Mathews’ departure for 11 signalling the end of the tourists’ resistance.
Jordan claimed two more scalps on his way to personal-best ODI figures as Sri Lanka recorded the lowest 50-over total by a Test nation against England.
With the pressure off, returning skipper Cook made 30 as he enjoyed a calm comeback from a groin injury.
Bell (41) was the aggressor as England knocked off the runs in just 12 overs and one ball – the right-hander capping the triumph with a straight six to bring some entertainment to a crowd who witnessed much less cricket than they had bargained for.
The win gives England a 2-1 series lead and they can secure an unassailable advantage in the penultimate ODI at Lord’s on Saturday.
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