England’s bid to reach the T20 World Cup semi-finals was complicated by Pathum Nissanka’s 67 off 45 balls and a possible injury to Dawid Malan as they were set 142 for victory by Sri Lanka.
Jos Buttler’s side have to win their final Super 12s game to oust hosts and defending champions Australia from second spot in the group and progress to the knockout stages alongside New Zealand.
Nissanka helped Sri Lanka off to a flyer as they reached 54 for one after the powerplay but England battled back terrifically thereafter and restricted their opponents to 141 for eight in Sydney.
Sri Lanka, who cannot finish in the top two, amassed just five fours and one six after the seventh over as England adjusted their tactics, having struggled on a used pitch with lopsided square boundaries.
Mark Wood leaked 17 in his first over but then conceded just nine when bowling the 18th and 20th overs, collecting three for 26 as Sri Lanka lost five for 25 in the last 30 balls of their innings.
Adil Rashid took his first wicket of the tournament and allowed Sri Lanka just 16 off his four overs without conceding a single boundary, with pace off on a used pitch seemingly an important weapon.
There was also one wicket apiece for Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes but England might be without Malan in their reply.
England’s number three gingerly walked off the field in the 15th over after pulling up sharply when chasing the ball and appearing to clutch his groin.