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England threatening remarkable ODI comeback against Sri Lanka

After going 2-0 and then 3-1 down in the seven-match ODI contest in Sri Lanka, few would have predicted that England would be within touching distance of taking the series. The visitors have now been shortened to 4/1 in Coral’s betting to win overall.

Hosts Sri Lanka, though, are still odds-on to both to claim the series at 1/6 and 8/13 to take the sixth ODI, though.

But England will be hoping another heroic hundred can win them the next match to level the scores to 3-3, with one to go, after Joe Root’s unbeaten century last time out.

The young Yorkshireman scored 104 to help the tourists to a five-wicket victory in Pallekele, and put on crucial partnerships with both James Taylor (104) and Ravi Bopara (86).

Captain Alastair Cook had high praise for his youthful teammates, saying: “The way Taylor, and particularly Root, played today was just phenomenal.

“[Kumar] Sangakkara (91) gave a masterclass in batting yesterday, but I thought Rooty matched that level. To chase 240 fairly comfortably on a spinning wicket is a credit to the way we’ve pushed ourselves,

Root is a 4/1 chance to be best England batsman again, while Taylor, who is doing wonders in his claim to make the World Cup squad after smashing 90 in the 4th ODI, is 9/2 in the same market.

Skipper Cook, who is struggling with form but managed 20 in the last match, is 4/1 to top score, while veteran Sangakkara is 5/2 to be best batsman for Sri Lanka.

Chris Woakes will hope he can carry on his bowling heroics, after taking outstanding figures of 6-47 last time out.

Speaking after his haul, he said: “It was really important for myself to put in a good performance. It’s always nice to take wickets, and six wickets sounds a lot, but at the time I suppose you are just trying to put the ball in the right areas and do your best for the team.

“But it was great day for myself and I was just hoping that the boys could chase it down because we weren’t sure whether it was a good total or a par total, but the boys made a good chase.”

All-rounder Woakes is 7/2 to be best bowler again and help England to a crucial win (13/10).