Kumar Sangakkara put on yet another batting clinic as Sri Lanka remained in the Champions Trophy by chasing 295 against England at The Oval.
The cards seemed stacked against Angelo Mathews’ side after England, knowing a win would seal a semi-final berth, racked up 294 for six after losing the toss.
Yet Sangakarra – supported by Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 44, Mahela Jayawardene’s 42 and Nuwan Kulesakara’s brilliant 38-ball 58 not out – utilised all his experience to strike an unbeaten 134 and help his side to a seven-wicket win with 2.5 overs to spare.
So often the heroes for Sri Lanka in recent years, it was a brilliant 85-run stand between Sangakkara and Jayawardene that changed the complexion of the game.
With a good total on the board England would have felt confident when Kusal Perera struck James Anderson straight to mid-on despite the fine surface.
But Sangakkara, pictured left, after some initial hairy moments against Stuart Broad, looked a picture of cool as he effortlessly stroked boundaries around the ground.
Dilshan, in contrast, appeared ungainly in the early stages of his innings, but found his feet when crunching Joe Root down the ground for six.
He began to find his timing thereafter, only to give it away when picking out Root at long-on off Swann.
In a lesson to many on ODI batting, Sangakkara immediately upped his tempo thereafter and allowed Jayawardene the freedom to play himself in.
It was a method that paid dividends, for it was not long before Jayawardene was advancing down the track and thumping Broad for a straight six.
Thereafter, amid his partner piercing the field and taking effortless ones and twos, he unfurled some eye-catching leg-side boundaries off the hip.
It was that shot that would provide Jayawardene's undoing, though, as Anderson found extra bounce, and substitute fielder Jonny Bairstow held a chance at deep square-leg.
Unruffled, Sangakkara continued to mix exceptional running with the odd release shot to the boundary, while Kulasekara, pictured below – sent in as a pinch-hitter – fulfilled his brief with aplomb.
The latter smeared sixes over the leg side, hit fours all around the wicket and suddenly passed 50 before seeing Sri Lanka to what proved an eventually comfortable triumph.
England’s innings was anchored by 78 from Jonathan Trott and 56 by Alastair Cook, the former providing immediate impetus after Ian Bell clipped Shaminda Eranga to square-leg for 20.
Cook looked a little out of touch at first, but grew into his innings – so much so that his dismissal, lbw on the sweep to Rangana Herath, came as a great surprise.
Trott responded excellently alongside the busy Joe Root, the duo putting on 87 in a stand highlighted by good placement.
The latter, aided by a couple of missed chances, entertained with a pair of scoops and reverse-scoops, while Trott found the boundary with more conventional shots.
Yet their dismissals – Trott fell leg-before to Herath and Root skied Lasith Malinga to deep square-leg – heralded a collapse as Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and Tim Bresnan went cheaply.
Indeed, it took a special 33 not out from Ravi Bopara to take England to their eventual total.
Taking the final over, sent down by Eranga, for six, four, six, four, two and six, the number seven hit effortlessly between extra-cover and cow corner in a fabulous display of power striking.
At that point, he appeared to have turned the game decisively in England’s favour; however, the ever-dangerous Sri Lanka had other ideas.
Sri Lanka Innings
8:46pm - END OF MATCH - SRI LANKA WIN BY SEVEN WICKETS; Sangakkara 134, Kulasekara 58 - Well, that's that then. Truly special innings from Sangakkara and Kulasekara take Sri Lanka to a victory nobody expected to be so comfortable. They get to 295 with 2.5 overs to spare and remain in the tournament. England now look ahead to their clash with New Zealand. Group A is wide open.
8:40pm - Sangakarra gets in on the act with a couple of effortless front-foot boundaries off Bresnan and Anderson. It's been an exhibition from the Sri Lanka number three.
8:29pm - FIFTY! Kulasekara (30b 5x4 3x6) - My goodness; what a masterstroke from Sri Lanka! Having pulled Swann for two sixes over midwicket, Kulasekara hits Broad for another before back-to-back fours herald his half-century.
8:19pm - Kulasekara is playing a blinder here, hitting Bresnan for off- and leg-side boundaries after Sangakarra whips Anderson over midwicket.
8:06pm - CENTURY! Sangakkara (111b 8x4 0x6) - Sri Lanka send in Nuwan Kulasekara for a bit of pinch-hitting - and he crunches Tim Bresnan through midwicket for a boundary - but it's Sangakkara who draws applause from the crowd for a stupendous century.
7:47pm - WICKET! Jayawardene c sub (Bairstow) b Anderson 42; Sri Lanka 187/3 - Huge, huge breakthrough for England. That infamous flick off the hip proves Jayawardene's undoing, Jonny Bairstow holding on at deep square-leg.
7:43pm - Alastair Cook turns to his wicket-taker Anderson, who immediately sees Sangakkara edge past wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for four. Sri Lanka are in control now.
7:28pm - England have saved six runs in the field with quite brilliant diving stops on the boundary, yet Sri Lanka continue to prosper as Jayawardene - in particular - makes hitting fours look effortless.
7:12pm - Exceptional from the previously subdued Jayawardene, who moves down the pitch and smacks Broad down the ground for six.
7:02pm - Sangakkara adds a couple more boundaries, confidently hitting Swann over mid-off before clipping Bopara through fine-leg.
6:46pm - FIFTY! Sangakkara (59b 5x4 0x6) - A single moves Sanagakkara to 50. How England would love another wicket soon.
6:43pm - WICKET! Dilshan c Root b Swann 44; Sri Lanka 102/2 - A big wicket for England as Dilshan hits Swann straight to long-on. That is reward for the hosts putting on the squeeze a little in recent overs, although it brings together 'The Big Two' of Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
6:28pm - Time for drinks; Sri Lanka have been content to knock the ball around for ones and twos in the last couple of overs.
6:18pm - Sri Lanka will be starting to feel more confident here, particularly following Joe Root's last over. After Dilshan - who has looked out of touch - sweeps four and hits a six down the ground, Sangakkara plays a bizarre straight pull for another boundary.
6:07pm - Sangakkara, who has driven Broad through cover for another four, is looking in imperious form.
5:50pm - This game is far from over; Sangakkara hits back-to-back boundaries, advanving and cutting Broad aerially through cover before clipping off his hip.
5:39pm - Cracking bowling from Broad as he twice beats the edge of Kumar Sangakkara, who pulled Anderson for four in the previous over.
5:26pm - WICKET! Perera c Bopara b Anderson 6; Sri Lanka 10/1 - That's the start England wanted. The dangerous Perera tries to go aerial and hits Anderson straight to Bopara at mid-on.
5:25pm - Good start for Sri Lanka as Tillakaratne Dilshan whips Anderson fine off his pads for four and Kusal Perera pulls Stuart Broad for another.
5:15pm - Here we go then. Sri Lanka are pursuing 294 and James Anderson has the new ball in his hand.
4:43pm - END OF INNINGS - England 293/7; Bopara 33, Broad 7 - That's more like it! Stuart Broad ends Malinga's spell with a four over mid-off before Ravi Bopara takes centre stage in spectacular fashion in a last over that goes six, four, six, four, two, six! He started by dragging Eranga over midwicket for six and, after producing a four in the same area, unfurled a scintillating cover-driven maximum. Not content, Bopara drove down the ground for four, took two in the same area and then whipped a full-toss over midwicket. Absolutely sensational.
4:34pm - WICKET! Bresnan b Eranga 4; England 254/7 - The late acceleration England had hoped for has not come. Bresnan is cleaned up heaving across the line.
4:24pm - WICKET! Buttler c Sangakkara b Kulasekara; England 249/6 - And now Buttler goes too, caught behind trying an expansive drive. This has been a poor period for England.
4:19pm - WICKET! Morgan lbw Malinga 13; England 249/5 - Malinga makes it two in two! Morgan is trapped in front having struck his first boundary, over cover, earlier in the over. Ravi Bopara blocks the hat-trick ball.
4:18pm - WICKET! Root c Jayawardene b Malinga 68; England 249/4 - The fun ends for Root, but it's been a fine innings. He hit Malinga straight to deep square-leg.
4:10pm - MISSED CHANCE! - Root is reprieved again when Kumar Sangakkara drops a skier from Malinga. That cannot detract from a fine innings thus far, though; he has reverse-scooped Kulasekara for four - it narrowly fell short of the rope - before driving Malinga twice through the off side.
3:59pm - WICKET! Trott lbw Herath 76; England 218/3 - Well, that's the end of a fine knock from Trott, who is trapped plumb in front on the sweep. His effort has set things up perfectly, though.
3:58pm - FIFTY! Root (43b 2x4 0x6) - The epitome of a busy innings; Root's effort features just two boundaries but comes up at much better than a run a ball.
3:50pm - MISSED CHANCE! - Root survives as Dilshan drops a difficult opportunity over his shoulder at backward point after the batsman had edged an attempted big hit off Malinga. Six runs in the 40th over moves England beyond 200 and means they have taken 36 off the powerplay. In the previous set of six, Trott crunched Eranga through the covers for four.
3:41pm - More excellent work from these two, who are setting England up for a formidable total. Root scoops Eranga for four amid some good running and the hosts have now taken 22 off three powerplay overs.
3:30pm - England start the batting powerplay impressively, Trott clipping four over midwicket in a Malinga over that yields seven.
3:18pm - FIFTY! Trott (63b 2x4 0x6) - Trott reaches his fifty at a good rate by clipping Mathews to mid-on for a single. Good work; he and Joe Root have looked busy.
3:01pm - WICKET! Cook lbw Herath 59; England 131/2 - Well, maybe they will not be so happy now! Cook tries to slog-sweep Herath but is rapped on the pad. Umpire Aleem Dar raised the finger and, despite a review, England's skipper has to go.
2:59pm - Trott, who has looked excellent so far, reverse-sweeps his second boundary, off Dilshan - who then drops a very difficult return chance off Cook. England will be happy with their position.
2:46pm - FIFTY! Cook (72b 3x4 0x6) - Cook greets the introduction of Dilshan with a late-cut four before clipping a single to leg later in the over, heralding a solid fifty.
2:40pm - Strike rotation is very much the aim at the moment, although England almost pay the price as Trott narrowly avoids being run out.
2:27pm - Trott has added good impetus to England's innings with Cook content to rotate. Rangana Herath has just been introduced, with his opening over going for four.
2:13pm - MISSED CHANCE! - A big miss for Sri Lanka as Tillakaratne Dilshan, diving full-length, shells an opportunity to dismiss Cook after England's skipper had cut Mathews. Time for a drink.
2:07pm - We may not see a better shot than this today. Mathews over-pitches and Jonathan Trott perfectly dissects a small gap between midwicket and mid-on for four.
1:51pm - WICKET! Bell c Perera b Eranga 20; England 48/1 - With England moving through the gears - Bell had hit Eranga over cover and Cook whipped Angelo Mathews through midwicket - the former clips a leg-stump half-volley straight to midwicket.
1:41pm - A moment of good fortune for Bell, who attempts to drive Kulasekara over the top but sees his effort fall just short of Shaminda Eranga at mid-on.
1:29pm - Just as I say that, Malinga begins to go through his repertoire - starting by rapping Cook on the pad with one that nips back a long way. The skipper survives, in an over that yields four leg-byes.
1:24pm - The hosts are 21 without loss after five overs and there's little happening for the bowlers. Cook and Bell, who earlier cut and pulled Lasith Malinga for fours, could well accelerate over the remainder of the powerplay.
1:16pm - England are off to a decent start here, with four leg-byes coming from Kulasekara after Ian Bell had been denied a boundary with a fine piece of fielding at backward point.
1:05pm - Lovely start from England skipper Alastair Cook, who powerfully cuts Nuwan Kulasekara for four.
12:50pm - England, of course, began their Group A campaign with a dominant victory over rivals Australia. Batting may be initially tricky today but, despite the grim conditions, The Oval is usually a great place to bat.
12:37pm - England have Graeme Swann back in their ranks and he replaces James Tredwell in the only change to the home XI.
Sri Lanka replace Thisara Perera with Nuwan Kulasekara.
Here are the teams:
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson.
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga, Lasith Malinga.
12:31pm - SRI LANKA WIN TOSS & BOWL - Angelo Mathews has won the coin-flip and, unsurprisingly given the grey, overcast conditions, opted to field.
12:15pm - Hello and welcome to our live coverage of England's second Champions Trophy encounter. If Alastair Cook's men beat Sri Lanka at The Oval, they will qualify for the semi-finals.