Root hails Taylor-made run-chase

Centurion Joe Root thanked batting partner James Taylor for showing no fear in a third-wicket stand of 104 that boosted England to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Kandy.

Chasing 240 to win after rain forced a reserve day, Root shared crucial partnerships with Taylor, who hit a second consecutive half-century with 68, and then 86 with Ravi Bopara for the fourth wicket in the fifth one-day international.

And the Yorkshire batsman praised Taylor, fresh from his 90 in Colombo in what was only his third ODI, for bringing much-needed serenity to the wicket following the early departures of openers Moeen Ali and captain Alastair Cook.

“We spoke all week how we wanted guys to go in and get big scores and be there at the end, so it’s nice to be there myself,” Root said.

Joe Root's unbeaten 104 was his third one-day international century and guided England to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Kandy

“It’s great to see him (Taylor) come in and play like that; he’s done it in domestic cricket for a long time now and for him to come into international cricket and do that, it’s really refreshing.

“We have good fun out there and enjoy each other’s company.

“We knew it wasn’t a huge score but it was quite a tricky one because of the wicket so we tried to make sure we rotated well, without using up too many dot balls and, if we had the boundary option, to take it.

“We had no fear of losing our wicket and took the small totals of 10 runs at a time to do it progressively, just like that.”

Cook managed 20 runs before being trapped lbw by Sachithra Senanayake, who also bowled Moeen for four, and the England skipper was similarly grateful to Nottinghamshire’s Taylor for digging his side out of trouble.James Taylor put on 103 for the third wicket with Root, and was out for a composed 68 as England recovered from 35 for two early on

Cook said: “He’s obviously done fantastically well – a 90 and a 70 – and he’s played in exactly the same way on two difficult wickets, so full credit to James for coming in and taking his chance like that.

“It was a fantastic couple of days.

“I thought the way Chris Woakes and the guys bowled yesterday was fantastic and obviously Kumar (Sangakkara) played a fantastic knock (the former Sri Lanka captain ran up 91 on yesterday).

“The highest compliment I can pay to Rooty is that he was in the same class as him (Sangakkara), so it was a brilliant knock.

“Now the series is at 3-2 and very much alive so we can’t wait to come back here in a couple of days’ time.”

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