Alex Hales hit a stunning century yesterday to lead England to a memorable victory over Sri Lanka and reignite his side’s ICC World Twenty20 campaign.
Hales hit an unbeaten on 116 from 64 balls with 11 fours and six sixes, finishing the game in unforgettable fashion as he heaved Angelo Mathews for an enormous six to seal a six-wicket victory with four balls to spare.
It was England’s first T20I hundred and Hales, who struck six sixes and 11 fours to guide his team to 190 for four after Sri Lanka posted 189 for four when they batted first at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Bangladesh.
Eoin Morgan also deserved praise having hit 57 in 38 balls with seven fours and two sixes in a stand of 152 with Hales.
It was an unlikely, finale in Chittagong after a poor innings in the field for England allowed Sri Lanka to post a massive score.
Mahela Jayawardene made 89 to underpin Sri Lanka’s having led a charmed life from ball one.
He was controversially given not out first ball when Michael Lumb appeared to take a clean catch off Jade Dernbach.
England then contributed to their own woes, dropping him twice and botching a run-out chance, in a ragged fielding display.
In reply, England ended the first over without a run and with two wickets down before Hales saved his side.
Hales was dropped on 55 by Jayawardene, who allowed a chance to slip through his fingers and into the ropes.
The 15th over was huge for England as Hales flexed his muscles with three mighty sixes in four deliveries off Ajantha Mendis. That over went for 25.
Down to the end, England still required 23 off the last 12 balls and Hales took a chunk out of that with two almighty sixes off Nuwan Kulasekara.
The first brought up a brilliant hundred and it was apt that he should save the best of the lot for the winning six in at thrilling finish.
Sri Lanka Inns
T Dilshan c Jordan b Dernbach 55
K Perera c wkp Buttler b Dernbach 3
M Jayawardene b Jordan 89
T Perera not out 23
K Sangakkara c Hales b Jordan 0
A Mathews not out 11
Extras (lb 2, w 4, nb 2) 8 TOTAL (four wickets; 20 overs) 189
Did not bat: Chandimal, Kulasekara, Senanayake, Mendis, Malinga
Wickets at: 4 (K Perera,), 149 (Jayawardene), 156 (Dilshan), 169 (Sangakkara)
BOWLING: Ali 1-0-4-0; Dernbach 4-0-42-2 (1nb, 1w); Bresnan 4-0-48-0; Jordan 4-0-28-2 (1w); Broad 3-0-29-0 (1nb, 2w)
England Inns (Target: 190 runs)
M Lumb b Kulasekara 0
A Hales not out 116
M Ali c Senanayake b Kulasekara 0
E Morgan c Mathews b Kulasekara 57
J Buttler c Chandimal b Kulasekara 2
R Bopara not out 11
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
TOTAL (four wickets; 19.2 overs) 190
Did not bat: Bresnan, Jordan, Broad, Tredwell, Dernbach
Wickets at: 0 (Lumb), 0 (Ali), 152 (Morgan), 156 (Buttler)
BOWLING: Kulasekara 4-1-32-4 (2w); Mathews 2.2-0-31-0; Malinga 4-0-31-0 (1nb, 1w); Mendis 4-0-52-0; T Perera 1-0-14-0.
Toss: Won by England, who chose to field
Result: England won by six wickets
Points: England 2, Sri Lanka 0
Player of the match: AD Hales (England)
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and RJ Tucker (Australia)
TV umpire: SJ Davis (Australia)