Joe Root's 121 powers England to 309/6 against Sri Lanka
Wellington, March 1 - England rode on Joe Root's 121 to score 309/6 against Sri Lanka in a World Cup Pool A game at the Westpac Stadium here on Sunday.
During his 108-ball stay, right-hander Root scored his fourth century in One-day International (ODI) cricket to power his country to a position of strength. Several batsmen chipped in with useful contributions for England.
Experienced opener Ian Bell made 49 in 54 balls while Eoin Morgan (27) and James Taylor (25) got two very good partnerships with the 24-year-old Root. Jos Buttler provided a late spark with an unbeaten 39 of 19 balls.
England lost their first wicket in the form of last match's centurion Moeen Ali (15). The left-hander offered an easy catch off skipper Angelo Mathews to Suranga Lakmal at mid-off with the scoreboard reading 62/1 in 9.2 overs.
Next man in, Gary Ballance (6) was caught by Tillakaratne Dilshan off his own bowling to reduce the English to 71/2 in 12.2 overs.
In walked young Root and the partnership between him and Bell lasted for only 30 runs as the latter had his stumps rattled by medium pacer Lakmal. When Bell fell for 49, with the help of seven fours, their innings looked to be in danger of faltering at 101/3 in 20.2 overs.
Root put on 60 for the fourth wicket with Morgan (27) before the captain's fierce cut shot could only pick out Dilshan at gully off Thisara Perera.
However, England continued their recovery as Root reached his century off 101 balls as he and Taylor (25) attacked in the final 10 overs. They forged a 98-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Lasith Malinga returned to remove Taylor and Herath trapped Root in front of the wickets as Sri Lanka looked to halt England's progress.
England managed to surpass 300 thanks to Buttler's 39 from 19 balls as Sri Lanka struggled to restrict their opponents. Right-hander Buttler hit six fours and a six.
For Sri Lanka, all the bowlers bagged a wicket apiece while Lakmal was the most expensive as he went for 71 runs in 7.4 overs. He was taken out of the attack after bowling a second full toss above waist height.
Brief scores: England 309/6 (Joe Root 121, Ian Bell 49; Tillakaratne Dilshan 1/35, Angelo Mathews 1/43) against Sri Lanka