Liam Plunkett hit last-ball six as England forced a dramatic tie against Sri Lanka in the first limited-overs cricket international on Tuesday.
Chasing Sri Lanka’s 286-9, England rallied from serious problems at 82-6, but still needed 40 off the last three overs to win.
England got 39 off those final 18 balls, enough to tie Sri Lanka’s score in a rousing fightback at Trent Bridge.
Plunkett swung hard on the last ball of England’s last over and his shot cleared the mid-off boundary off seamer Nuwan Pradeep, who conceded 13 runs in the last over. Tellingly for Sri Lanka, they allowed England to run three off the next-to-last delivery — when they already appeared to be celebrating — to give Plunkett the opportunity to snatch a tie.
“We had the game in the bag,” Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said.
England’s comeback was made possible by Jos Buttler, who hit 93, Chris Woakes, who was 95 not out, and Plunkett, who thumped a quick 22 off 11 balls including the match-winning strike.
They “got us out of a hole and a really sticky situation”, England captain Eoin Morgan said.
England won the test series easily but Sri Lanka appeared much more at home in the one-day format.
After England put Sri Lanka into bat, skipper Mathews led from the front with his 73 and Seekkuge Prasanna was promoted up the order to give the innings a jolt. He did, hitting eight fours and four sixes in his 59 off just 28 balls. In that blitz, 56 of Prasanna’s 59 runs came from boundaries.
Mathews took two early wickets in England’s chase but had to go off midway through the innings with an injury. Still, at 30-4 and 82-6, England appeared down and out anyway.
Buttler engineered England’s fightback with a superb innings under pressure. He was joined by Woakes in a 138-run partnership for the seventh wicket, taking England from 82-6 to 220-7 and in sight of Sri Lanka’s score.