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England scrape through with a nervous two-wicket win

Related Links : England in Sri Lanka 2007/08 : Scorecard

England scraped through with a nervous two-wicket win in a low scoring day nighter at Dambulla in the third ODI to take the lead in the 5-match series. The tourists slipped into a losing position at 197 for 7 in pursuit of a target of 164 but a 40-run stand between Graeme Swann (25 from 37) and Stuart Broad (unbeaten 20 from 44) brought them back in the hunt. Graeme Swann continues to have a remarkable International Comeback after seven years with an inspiring all-round show. England won this rain-affected match with just seven balls to spare.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka having decided to bat first had to halt their innings twice because of rain breaks. Although the rain looked pretty heavy, the groundstaff could do the recovery work in quicktime which reduced the match to a 48-over one. The Sri Lankan innings lacked the rhythm right from the start as they kept on losing wickets in a heap. Just when it appeared that they would be bowled for a paltry total, Tillakaratne Dilshan put on a decisive partnership of 46 with Dilhara Fernando. Dilshan was the only good performer for Sri Lanka with the bat scoring 70 in 84 balls with six fours. The chief destroyers for England were Ryan Sidebottom with 3 for 19 in 8.1 overs and off spinner Graeme Swann with 4 for 34 in 10 overs. Stuart Broad picked up a neat 2 for 26 in 8 overs.

England in their chase were put on the backfoot by a triple blow from the inform Farveez Maharoof that saw they shaken up at 47 for 4 which included the wickets of Pietersen and Bell. A 47-run partnership between Skipper Collingwood (32 from 71) and Owais Shah (19 from 53) frustrated the Sri Lankan bowlers until Sanath Jayasuriya got rid off both these right handers. Sri Lanka had England on the mat at 107 for 7 before Broad combined with Swann to take their side close to victory. Eventually it was the unbeaten partnership of 17 between Broad and Sidebottom that clinched the game. Among the Sri Lankan bowlers, Maharoof bowled well for his 3 for 34 and Jayasuriya kept it tight with 2 for 23 in their respective quotas. Graeme Swann was the Man of the Match for his efforts.