PALLEKELE - Each time this series has threatened to slip away from England they have pulled their fortunes around with two excellent chases. The first ramped up to a bit of a thriller, finished off by Jos Buttler, but the second in Pallekelle was as clinical and controlled as many England have been on the receiving end of.

The star on Thursday, on the second day of the two-day one-day international, was Joe Root, who continued to cement his position as the fulcrum of the ODI order at No. 4. His three hundreds have all come this year - in North Sound (with a broken thumb), at Headingley and now in Pallekele - and each of them has brought an England victory. Alastair Cook so often preaches the importance of one of the top four batting through an innings for three figures and though the captain is struggling to make it to the 20-over mark, Root is taking up some of the slack.


The huge motivation for England is to make it back-to-back wins in Pallekele which would leave the series with a decider at the Premadasa on Tuesday, although England have not managed to win the capital yet on the trip (except for the warm-up match).

Sri Lanka have not travelled well in this series, but a tightly-fought contest serves more worth with the World Cup closing in, when it comes to assessing character of fringe players. They will see the first Pallekele outing as missed opportunity as they were handed a bare, dry pitch which, due to the fact that the game went into a second day, was further baked under the sun. However, their spinners did not find a great amount of turn - certainly nothing greater than produced by James Tredwell or Moeen Ali.


ENGLAND: Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, James Taylor, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler (wkt), Ravi Bopara, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, James Tredwell, Steven Finn

SRI LANKA: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara (wkt), Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan.