Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot during their fifth ODI cricket match against England in Pallekele December 10, 2014. Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters
Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot during their fifth ODI cricket match against England in Pallekele December 10, 2014. Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters

England’s Chris Woakes in form before storms suspend fifth ODI with Sri Lanka

England will return Thursday to chase down a 240-run victory target and stay alive in the seven-match series against Sri Lanka after rain forced play to be suspended in the fifth one-day international in Pallekele on Wednesday.

In-form Kumar Sangakkara hit a cultured 91, but England paceman Chris Woakes (six for 47) tore through the Sri Lankan lower order to bowl out the hosts for 239 in 49 overs.

A torrential downpour then kept the players off the pitch and prompted the match officials to finally abandon the day’s play.

England, who are 3-1 down in the series, will return to chase down their target in 50 overs.

For inspiration, the tourists can look back on the 2004 Champions Trophy match at Southampton against the same opponents. That spilled into the reserve day, before England captain Michael Vaughan and his men won it under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Current captain Alastair Cook returned to the side after serving a one-match suspension for a second slow over-rate offence in the third ODI and won the toss, putting the hosts in to bat.

He had reason to feel vindicated as the scoreless Kusal Perera edged the third delivery of the match from Steven Finn to second slip.

The other opener, Tillakaratne Dilshan (35), hit six boundaries in his breezy, 31-ball knock before dragging a Chris Jordan delivery onto the stumps.

Sri Lanka slumped to 59 for three when Jordan, involved in the first four dismissals, caught Mahela Jayawardene at the lone slip off Woakes.

Sangakkara played with characteristic cool as he and captain Angelo Mathews (40) added 85 runs to steady the innings, even though they found boundaries hard to come by. Jordan dismissed Mathews in the 34th over but Sri Lanka, at 172 for four, looked well-placed for a late assault in the final 10 overs.

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