LONDON: Jason Roy hit the second-highest score for England in a one-day international to help chase down 308 and win the series against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
Roy made 162 off just 118 balls as England cruised to victory in the fourth ODI despite the challenging target for a 2-0 series lead with one game to play. Roy fell just short of Robin Smith's England record of 167 not out, set against Australia back in 1993.
England finished on 309-4 in 40.1 overs to win by six wickets after Sri Lanka made 305-5 in 42 overs in the rain-shortened game at the Oval. England's victory target was revised to 308 on the Duckworth-Lewis method after Sri Lanka's innings was interrupted by rain but that made little difference as Roy led a masterful run chase.
The opener struck 13 fours and three sixes and finally fell just four overs from the end when he was beaten and bowled by a slower ball from Nuwan Pradeep (2-78). Roy let out a shout of frustration and thumped his bat into the ground as he walked off but it was because he wanted to see his team home, he said, and not because he was six runs short of setting a new England record.
"Yeah, what a day. Incredible win for the boys," Roy said. "It's just a shame I wasn't there in the end. I was pretty disappointed."
It was also England's second-highest successful run chase in ODIs.
"Unfortunately the bowling didn't work," Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said.
England's easy victory came after Sri Lanka had provided its best batting performance of the series, with Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal and Mathews all making half-centuries after the Sri Lankans were put in to bat.
Mendis top-scored with 77 and Mathews was 67 not out. Mendis and Chandimal put together a 128-run partnership for the second wicket to get Sri Lanka out of early trouble at 8-1 when Kusal Perera was run out.
England started in the same vein. Moeen Ali, promoted to opener after Alex Hales hurt his back while fielding, fell for 2 at the start of England's chase. Joe Root joined Roy and made 65 in their 149-run stand for the second wicket.
There was one highlight for Sri Lanka in the field when Gunathilaka's superb diving catch at gully dismissed England captain Eoin Morgan.
Roy kept on going, though, taking England to 27 runs from victory. Jonny Bairstow (29 not out) and Jos Buttler (17 not out) saw England to victory, adding an ODI series win to the test series success over the Sri Lankans.
The final ODI is on Saturday at Cardiff.