DAMBULLA, Sri Lanka, Oct 7 (Reuters) A fine all-round performance from Graeme Swann helped England snatch a nail-biting two-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the third one-day international today.
Swann was instrumental in restricting Sri Lanka to a paltry 164 all out in 41.1 overs, claiming career-best figures of 4-34 from 10 overs, and then scored a crucial 25 off 37 balls.
England lead the five-match series 2-1.
England had slumped to 107 for seven when Swann was joined by Stuart Broad (20 not out) for the start of an eighth-wicket partnership that produced 40 precious runs and swung the initiative back to the tourists.
Broad then held his nerve after Swann had his stumps uprooted by a Dilhara Fernando yorker, guiding England home with seven balls to spare after an unbroken 17-run ninth-wicket stand with Ryan Sidebottom.
Broad had also made an impact with the ball, claiming 2-26 from eight overs.
Sri Lanka appeared to have claimed an early advantage by winning the toss and batting first but the top order collapsed and then Swann ripped through the middle.
Left-armer Sidebottom was also on form with a penetrative new ball burst, finishing with three for 19 from 8.1 overs.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, recently dropped from Sri Lanka's test squad and under pressure for his one-day place, provided lone resistance with a fighting 70 from 84 balls with six boundaries.
Sri Lanka's problems started soon after the first of three short rain interruptions that reduced the match to 48 overs per side.
Sidebottom bowled Upul Tharanga (15) with a delivery that nipped back.
Sidebottom also claimed the wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya (11), who top-edged a pull stroke.
Broad tipped the match further England's way when Mahela Jayawardene (two) crashed his first delivery, a wide long hop, straight to Paul Collingwood at point.
Kumar Sangakkara (nine) was caught behind off the faintest of edges.
Swann's entry into the attack brought immediate success and Chamara Silva (11) bottom-edged a sweep on to his foot and wicket-keeper Phil Mustard held on to a sharp reflex catch.
SLUGGISH PITCH Swann followed up with the wickets of Jehan Mubarak (six) and Farveez Maharoof (seven), both caught and bowled on another sluggish Dambulla pitch.
Dilshan found a more dependable ally in tailender Dilhara Fernando and the pair added 46 runs for the ninth wicket before Swann dismissed Dilshan in his final over.
England's chase under lights started poorly with Alastair Cook (nought) edging behind and then Mustard (14) dragging a leg-side delivery on to his stumps.
Leading batsman Kevin Pietersen (eight) was pinned lbw by a Maharoof delivery that broke back sharply and Dilshan held on to a brilliant diving catch at point to dismiss Ian Bell for 16.
England were left tottering on 47 for four in the 12th over.
However, skipper Collingwood (31) and Owais Shah (19) resuscitated the innings with a 47-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene chopped and changed his bowlers frequently, growing ever more desperate to make a breakthrough.
Finally, though, spinner Jayasuriya lured Shah into a reckless stroke to reclaim the upper-hand for Sri Lanka.
Jayasuriya followed up with the key wicket of Collingwood who played down the wrong line and was adjudged lbw.
However, Swann soaked-up the pressure and edged England home with the cool-headed support of Broad.
REUTERS TB AS0028