KANDY - England will start their one-day international innings against Sri Lanka on Thursday after rain ended play in Kandy on Wednesday. The tourists had restricted Sri Lanka to a modest 239 in the fifth of seven ODIs in the series, which the hosts lead 3-1.

Although it is an ODI, the rules allow England to start their innings on Thursday's reserve day after the second half of Wednesday's play was washed out. England must reach their 240 victory target to stay alive in the series. Dark clouds which had threatened to open up during the latter stages of the Sri Lankan innings caused a steady shower at the innings break.

Earlier, England's bowlers kept Sri Lanka on a tight leash Wednesday in the crucial fifth match of their seven-game one-day international series. England, lagging 3-1, must win to stay in the series and their bowlers -- especially seamer Chris Woakes -- gave them a fighting chance.

Woakes dominated the proceedings with 6 for 47, while off-spinner James Tredwell conceded just 33 runs with two maidens from his 10 overs. Despite a typically fluent knock of 91 by Kumar Sangakkara and a late flourish by all-rounder Tisara Perera, England's bowlers never allowed the free-scoring Sri Lankans to take the game away from them.  Alastair Cook's decision to put Sri Lanka into bat proved justified when Steven Finn struck with the third ball of the innings to dismiss Kusal Perera, caught at second slip.

He conceded just 28 runs in his six overs.

Sri Lanka were reduced to 59 for 3 in the 11th over when Jordan caught Mahela Jayawardene off Chris Woakes. They were finally bowled out in the 49th over for a modest 239. Captain Angelo Mathews and Sangakkara provided the only partnership of substance, adding 85 for the fourth wicket. Cook returned to the England team along with Tredwell, while Sri Lanka welcomed back off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake back after his suspect bowling action was cleared by the International Cricket Council.

Scoreboard

SRI LANKA:

T Dilshan b Jordan    35

K Perera c Jordan b Finn    0

K Sangakkara c Root b Woakes    91

M Jayawardene c Jordan b Woakes    2

A Mathews c Woakes b Jordan    40

L Thirimanna lbw Tredwell    8

J Mendis ct and b Woakes    12

T Perera c Root, Woakes    27

S Senanayake b Woakes    0

D Prasad not out    5

A Mendis b Woakes    0

EXTRAS: (b2, lb2, w15)    19

TOTAL: (all out, 49 overs)    239

FOW: 1-3, 2-54, 3-59, 4-144, 5-173, 6-199, 7-202, 8-212, 9-238, 10-239

BOWLING: Finn 6-0-28-1, Woakes 8-0-47-6, Ali 10-0-50-0, Jordan 10-0-56-2, Tredwell 10-2-33-1, Root 5-0-21-0

TOSS: England

UMPIRES: Rod Tucker (AUS) Ruchira Palliyaguruge (SRI)

TV UMPIRE: Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

MATCH REFEREE: David Boon (AUS)