Ali inspires England win over Sri Lanka

HAMBANTOTA: Opener Moeen Ali hit a dazzling 58 off 40 balls to inspire England to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the rain-affected third one-day international in Hambantota on Wednesday.

The tourists, chasing a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 236 in 35 overs, cruised home with eight balls to spare to record their first win in the seven-match series.

Kumar Sangakkara became only the fourth batsman in history to surpass 13,000 one-day runs as Sri Lanka scored 242-8 in a game reduced to 35 overs-a-side when heavy rain interrupted play after just two overs.

The 37-year-old left-hander reached the landmark when he took a single off Chris Woakes to move to 13 and celebrated by top-scoring with 63 in the innings.

Ali smashed five sixes and two boundaries at the top of the order before Joe Root and Jos Buttler put on a match-winning stand of 84 off 64 balls for the unbroken sixth wicket.

Buttler hit 55 off 37 balls and Root chipped in with a run-a-ball 48 after the tourists had lost half their side by the 24th over for 152 runs.

Skipper Alastair Cook contributed 34 in an opening stand of 84 with Ali before he was dismissed in the 12th over, caught by Sangakkara off seamer Dhammika Prasad.

The run out of Ali in the 15th over following a mix-up with Alex Hales triggered a collapse in which England lost four key wickets for just 49 runs.

But Root and Buttler stepped in to turn the game around in dramatic fashion as the Sri Lankan bowling wilted under their assault.

The fourth match will be played on Sunday in Colombo where Sri Lanka had won the first two games.

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