ENGLAND’S Moeen Ali suffered the ignominy of a first-ball duck, but he was soon celebrating after Alex Hales’ remarkable match-winning century against Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20.
The Worcestershire all-rounder bowled one over, conceding just four runs, but England were sloppy in the field, allowing the Sri Lankans to pile up an imposing 189-4 in Bangladesh.
Ashley Giles’ side made the worst possible start in reply as Nuwan Kulasekara bowled Michael Lumb for a duck with the fourth ball before Moeen nicked his first ball to second slip.
The signs were ominous for England, who looked to be heading for a second defeat on the bounce following their Duckworth-Lewis loss to New Zealand in the opening game of Super 10 Group One.
However, Nottinghamshire batsman Hales and Eoin Morgan (57 off 38 balls) had other ideas, taking the score from 0-2 to 152-2 to turn the match on its head with the fourth highest partnership of all time in the format.
Hales produced a staggering innings – unbeaten on 116 from 64 balls – and finished the game in unforgettable fashion as he heaved Angelo Mathews for an enormous six to seal a six-wicket victory with four balls to spare.
It was England’s first T20 international hundred as Hales struck six sixes and 11 fours to reel in a target of 190 in Chittagong.
Mahela Jayawardene made 89 to underpin Sri Lanka’s 189-4, having led a charmed life from ball one.
He was controversially given not out first ball when Lumb appeared to take a clean catch off Jade Dernbach. England then contributed to their own woes in a ragged fielding display.
Meanwhile, Worcestershire were dismissed for 206 at the end of day two of their pre-season friendly against Gloucestershire in Bristol.
The hosts declared overnight on 353-5 and soon got among the Worcestershire batsmen. Play on the final day resumes at 11am today.