London, July 4: A glistening, unbeaten 105 from new-comer Dinesh Chandimal helped tourists Sri Lanka to a 6-wicket victory over hosts England and a 2-1 lead in the 5-match series. Chasing 247 for victory in the third of the 5-match ODI series, Mahela Jayawardene (79 off 77 balls) put on a match-pivoting 112 run stand with Chandimal, before the latter strung together partnerships with the Lankan middle-order to take his side home. Off-break Graeme Swann was the only bowler to stick it to the Lankans with 2/32. Earlier in the day, England opener Alastair Cook lead the charge with 119 while contributions from Kevin Pietersen (41 off 43), Ian Bell (30 off 46 balls), Tim Bresnan (26 runs of 29 balls) and Graeme Swann (11 off 4 balls) got the hosts a to a decent total.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, England got off to a mediocre start with the Lankan new-ball pair of Lasith Malinga and Lakmal sending back Craig Kieswetter and Jonathan Trott cheaply, as England slipped to 30/2 in 9.2 overs.
But new batsman Kevin Pietersen reversed the momentum when he slammed Lakmal for three consecutive fours in the 12th over and knocked a couple more boundaries off the same bowler in the 15th, as the hosts rocketed past 50.
Then after Ajantha Mendis removed Pietersen for 41 off 43 balls and Eoin Morgan for 4 off 7, a firm Cook and a steady Ian Bell took their side past 100 in the 26th over. The batting duo remained solid as the score motored along to 150/4 in the 36th over, soon after which Lakmal removed Bell for 30 off 46 balls and the score read 157/5 in 37 overs.
But Cook and lower-order batsman Tim Bresnan guided their side past 200 in the 44th over. Cook and Bresnan fell soon after, but a brief flourish from Garaem Swann at the death helped England finish their innings at 246/7 in 50 overs.
In their reply, Sri Lanka began their innings with a slight stutter: Tillakaratne Dilshan was bowled by Bresnan for 3 off 6 balls. But then Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal dug in their heels and took the fight to the English attack. In the 9th over, Jayawardene slapped a four off James Anderson to take Lanka past 50.
He and Chandimal continued to virtually toy with English bowling as the tourists sped past 100/1 in the 17th over. Then with the match firmly in Lanka's grasp, English paceman Jade Dernbach had Jayawardene caught by Morgan at point for 79 off 77 balls, with the score reading 131/2.
Sangakkara struck up another sturdy partnership with Chandimal before coming undone to Swann for 25 off 47 balls. At that stage, Lanka needed 53 runs of 13 overs. Soon after Lanka crossed 200 in the 39th over, Chandimal's aggressive streak resurfaced as he hammered Anderson for a six an a four. Then Graeme Swann trapped Kandmaby in front for 11, before Chandimal and Angelo Mathews took Sri Lanka home.