Joe Root struck his third one-day international century to steer England to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the rain-delayed fifth ODI at Kandy.
The Yorkshire batsman scored 104no off 117 balls and shared a third-wicket stand of 104 with James Taylor, who furthered his World Cup claims with 68 off 90 balls, as England made history by reaching their target of 240 – the highest successful run-chase in ODI cricket at the Pallekele Stadium.
Ravi Bopara contributed a measured 28 to a fourth-wicket stand of 86 with Root, who reached his ton with a slog-swept six, as the tourists overhauled Sri Lanka’s 239 all out with five balls left on the reserve day to reduce their series deficit to 3-2 with two games to come, on Saturday and Tuesday.
England began their reply on Thursday after heavy showers prevented further play on Wednesday following the home side’s innings, which featured 91 from Kumar Sangakkara and 6-47 for Chris Woakes.
Sri Lanka claimed an early breakthrough when Moeen Ali attempted to hit Sachithra Senanayake, playing in his first match since the International Cricket Council cleared his action, over midwicket and was bowled for four.
The off-spinner claimed a second wicket when England captain Alastair Cook, already given a reprieve when Sri Lanka declined to review a not out lbw decision that replays suggested should have been given, was trapped in front for 20 off 30 balls.
From 35-2, Taylor and Root rebuilt – working the ball around well to bring up their second fifty stand in as many innings together off 69 balls and going on to post a century stand off 122 deliveries.
Taylor – playing in only his fourth ODI - deposited Tillakaratne Dilshan over long on for six, going on to post his half-century off 67 balls, following his 90 in the fourth ODI on Saturday. But his hopes of pressing on ended when he pulled Thisara Perera to Ajantha Mendis in the deep.
Root remained solid at the crease, slog-sweeping Jeevan Mendis to reach his fifty off 65 balls and he celebrated with another four wide of long on off the following ball.
Together with Ravi Bopara he batted sensibly, declining to take unnecessary risks and pouncing on anything loose – memorably swatting Angelo Mathews through midwicket after the pair brought up their fifty stand off 58 balls.
With 15 needed off as many balls Bopara failed to hit Dilshan over long-on bringing in Eoin Morgan, who reverse-swept his first ball for four only to be caught in the deep with two runs needed.
But the day belonged to man-of-the-match Root, who leapt in delight as Jos Buttler paddle-swept the winning runs off the final ball of the last over.
On Wednesday Sangakkara steered Sri Lanka from 59-3 to a competitive 239 all out, putting on 85 with skipper Angelo Mathews (40), but they could not bat out their overs as Woakes claimed only the second six-wicket haul in England’s ODI history and the best figures by an England bowler in Sri Lanka.
On Wednesday England made two changes to the side - Cook returning from a one-match ban in place of Alex Hales, and spinner James Tredwell coming in for all-rounder Ben Stokes and broke through early when Steven Finn found the edge of Kusal Perera’s bat in the first over.
Dilshan breezed to 35 off 31 balls and posted a 50-run partnership with Sangakkara but his downfall was quickly followed by that of Mahela Jayawardene, who drove loosely at Woakes.
Mathews survived a tough caught-and-bowled chance offered to Chris Jordan but did not make the most of his reprieve, however, top-edging a paddled pull off the same bowler to Woakes in the deep and the score became 173-5 when Lahiru Thirimanne, on the sweep, appealed unsuccessfully against a confident lbw shout from Tredwell.
Sangakkara fell nine runs short of his century when he picked out Root at deep midwicket while attempting to flay Woakes for another boundary.
Woakes bagged another four balls later when Jeevan Mendis top-edged an attempted pull onto his helmet to present the bowler with a simple return catch. He then earned his fourth scalp of the innings, cleaning out Senanayake.
Thisara Perera responded with 27 off 17 balls, only falling when he attempted to smash Woakes for six and picked out Root in the deep and the Warwickshire seamer - whose best figures in ODI cricket remain the 6-45 he took against Australia at Brisbane in 2011 - finished off the innings by clean bowling Ajantha Mendis.
Watch the sixth ODI between Sri Lanka and England live on Sky Sports 2 from 4.15am on Saturday.