Sri Lanka completed the second highest run-chase in their one-day history after beating India by seven wickets to give their Champions Trophy hopes a lifeline at The Oval. Half centuries for Kusal Mendis (89), Danushka Gunathilaka (76) and returning captain Angelo Mathews (52 not out) saw them reach their target of 322 with nine balls to spare.
Defending champions India had good reason to feel confident after finishing on 321 for 6 as Shikhar Dhawan struck 125, yet a duck for skipper Virat Kohli ensured Sri Lanka had hope of denying the two-time winners a place in the last four.
Gunathilaka, who was only called into the squad on Wednesday (7 June) as a replacement for Chamara Kapugedera, and Mendis made 158 for the second wicket as they survived a series of dropped catches before Mathews took centre stage on his first one-day appearance for 10 months to steer his side to victory following seven ODI defeats on the spin.
The result leaves all four sides in Group B, including Pakistan and South Africa, on two points, meaning the final two matches of the preliminary round will be virtual quarter-finals to reach the knock-out stage.
On the day the United Kingdom went to the polls to vote in a third general election in seven years, the seats were ominously awash with blue with Indian and Sri Lankan fans converging on south London. Pakistan's win over South Africa ensured defeat for either side would not end their tournament campaign, yet Kohli's side could join England in the last four.
As cloud cover and a tiring Oval pitch offered little for the bowlers, India were able to stamp their authority on the contest from the outset. Backed by a terrifically vocal support, Rohit Sharma and Dhawan began cautiously. However they soon discovered their expansive best with the former finding success via the aerial route with three sixes.
The pair reached their century partnership for the third straight one-day game but soon Sharma (78) was undone by his risky approach as he steered the ball straight to Thisara Perera. Nine overs later and Sri Lanka – the joint-winners with India in 2002 – had a firm stranglehold on the match as Kohli was dismissed without scoring in an ODI for the first time since since 2014, before Vuvraj Singh was out for just seven.
But thanks to the happy-go-lucky Dhawan and MS Dhoni India recovered from 179 for 3 to lay the platform for a competitive total. The Sunrises Hyderabad man went to his 10th 50-over international century with a four carved through third man before he and Dhoni (63) put down the accelerator.
The pair put on 86 in 64 balls and thanks to a cameo from Kedar Jadhav (25 not out) India put on 103 in the final 10 overs and set 322 to win. Sri Lanka needed to complete the second biggest chase in an ODI at The Oval, and they got off to the worst possible start after the interval.
Niroshan Dickwella flicked the ball up in the fifth over for Ravi Jadeja to catch at point with just 11 on the board for Sri Lanka. Gunathilaka and Mendis were charged with rebuilding the innings and, much like Sharma and Dhawan earlier in the piece, they began slowly before unleashing the fireworks.
Helped by Pandya dropping Mendis when he was on 24 and Rohit spilling a high catch off Gunathilaka, the duo put on a fine stand to turn the Lions from outsiders to frontrunners. Taking few risks along the way both players passed 50 and made 158 for the second wicket, with their impressive progress underlined by subdued India support, whose confidence from the first innings had diminished.
Two moments of madness did threaten to give India a glimmer of hope as Sri Lanka's dismal run-out record continued. Gunathilaka was the first to go as Umesh Yadav's throw led to the breakthrough, before five overs later Kumar picked up in his follow-through to throw down the stumps as Mendis dived desperately.
The double intervention could have derailed Sri Lanka but instead it inspired them to victory. Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews made 75, combining some fine attacking strokes with regular rotation of the strike as they exposed the space on the expansive Oval outfield.
Perera was forced to retire hurt on 47 with separate back and groin injuries, yet the chase was not derailed. Mathews had not played an international since January due to hamstring and calf problems but showed his experience when it mattered to keep Sri Lanka's tournament hopes alive with his 33rd half century to complete an unlikely win with more than an over to spare.