Alastair Cook’s second one-day international hundred proved in vain as Dinesh Chandimal eased Sri Lanka past 246 for seven to go 2-1 up in the NatWest Series.
Cook grafted hard for his career-best 119 at Lord’s, but as captain was then powerless to stop Chandimal (105no) and Mahela Jayawardene (79) putting Sri Lanka serenely into position for a routine chase - achieved with six wickets and 10 balls to spare. England must therefore win the last two matches of the NatWest Series to add an ODI victory to their Test success against Sri Lanka this summer.
On a very good batting surface, the hosts did little wrong with the ball but - Cook apart - simply had not done enough with the bat to secure a defendable total. Early wickets were the likeliest method of somehow prevailing but England managed only to shift Cook’s opposite number Tillakaratne Dilshan - Tim Bresnan trimming the off-bail, before Jayawardene and Chandimal shared a hundred stand.
Jayawardene needed just 45 deliveries to add a half-century here to his Leeds hundred two days ago.
Cook had hit 11 fours, and passed 1,000 ODI runs too, by the time he reached his hundred. However, it became increasingly evident that England did not have enough runs on the board despite Graeme Swann hitting Lasith Malinga for England’s first six from the penultimate ball of the innings.
Sri Lanka stalled just short of the finish line, until Chandimal cleared long-on off Bresnan to reach three figures.