Joe Root's unbeaten century carried England to a five-wicket win and kept the one day international series in Sri Lanka alive.

Torrential rain meant England had to come back today after bowling Sri Lanka out for 239 yesterday. It looked a tall order on a dry pitch against four spinners, but Root and James Taylor (68) batted beautifully as they reached their target with five balls left. 

It leaves the series nicely poised with Sri Lanka 3-2 ahead with two matches to play.

Root (104*) will rightly take the plaudits after hitting his third ODI century, however it was Taylor who set the tone of the innings with a busy knock.

The Nottinghamshire batsman came to the crease in the second over after Moeen Ali's ugly swipe and put the Sri Lankan bowlers under pressure from the first ball, constantly using his feet and running quick singles. Comparisons were made to the way Kumar Sangakkara went about his 91-run innings yesterday, a huge compliment for the 24-year-old.

Too often in recent times, England's batsmen have found themselves caught on the crease and been dominated by the opposition's spin attack.

Captain Alastair Cook epitomised this trait as he was again dismissed lbw after pushing forward to the remodelled bowling of the returning Sachithra Senanayake for 20 - he should have been given out earlier for a similar misdemeanour.

Cook's lack of form must be worrying for the England selectors. He was shown up by his young compatriots today. He can put the bad deliveries away, highlighted by cutting two boundaries in the opening over, but the plethora of dot balls in this 30-ball innings served to emphasise Cook's one-dimensional batting and struggles in this form of Cricket,

So when Root replaced the skipper at the crease it was like a breath of fresh air.

He joined Taylor in coming down the pitch, manoeuvring the field, pinching quick singles and generally giving Angelo Matthews various headaches.

The pair clearly enjoyed batting together during their 104-run partnership and we loved watching them. Since Taylor returned to the side batting at three in Sunday's defeat, England have shown a much-needed dynamism in their middle order. 

This was a much-improved performance as a whole by the tourists.

The seamers looked to take wickets - and were set the fields to aid them - while the return of James Tredwell gave England more control. Chris Woakes was the obvious highlight after he became the first Englishman to take six wickets in a one-day game twice, with Chris Jordan also continuing his fine form on this tour.

Their captain's woes aside, this England team finally seem to be improving and we are closer to finding a settled eleven to compete at next February's World Cup. They can head into the final two games of the series confident of turning the tour around and leaving Sri Lanka victorious.