FOURTH ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL, Colombo:
England 212-5 bt Sri Lanka 211-9 by five wickets
England produced a fantastic display with both bat and ball to ease to a five-wicket win in Colombo and seal a first one-day series win in Sri Lanka.
England last won a one-day series in the Asian subcontinent in 1987
James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom were the heroes with the ball, taking three wickets apiece as Sri Lanka made 211-9.
Even a 126-run stand between Chamara Silva and Kumar Sangakkara (69) could not disguise a superb bowling effort.
And Kevin Pietersen (63no) and Alastair Cook (80) then dug deep with the bat to help England home with 19 balls left.
It put the tourists 3-1 up with one to play in the five-match series, sealing a second successive one-day international series win following their home defeat of India in September.
The result rarely looked in doubt after England shook off the disappointment of losing the toss to take crucial early wickets.
Anderson and Sidebottom have found good rhythm in the opening overs throughout the series, and the pair did not disappoint skipper Paul Collingwood again in Colombo.
Sidebottom (3-27) led the way and he had conceded just one run off the bat when he had Upul Tharanga caught at slip by Owais Shah in just his second over.
But, despite being flicked for four off his very first delivery, it was Anderson (3-33) that snared the key wickets of Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene.
Jayasuriya fell looping a slower ball straight to Kevin Pietersen at mid-off, before Jayawardene lashed an attempted cut high to third man, where Stuart Broad took a good catch on the run.
They were Anderson's first wickets of the series and when he and Sidebottom had completed 13 overs between them, Sri Lanka were limping along at 25-3.
The replacement bowlers fared almost as well in the early stages, Broad, Collingwood and Graeme Swann restricting Sri Lanka's scoring with persistent line, length and some turn.
Sangakkara dug in to make his first real contribution of the series
But, despite being another slow wicket, pre-match suspicions that the pitch would yield runs to the better batsmen rang true as Sangakkara and Silva settled.
The pair dug in impressively, nudging and nurdling for ones and twos and only occasionally opening their shoulders for a boundary shot, as the hosts slowly edged towards 200.
The stand was not without scares, with Sangakkara lofting a leading edge safe off Swann.
And Ravi Bopara, in his first bowl of the series, was frustrated three times in his efforts to remove Silva - once when Phil Mustard shelled a thin edge standing up to the stumps and then when two confident lbw appeals were turned down by Rudi Koertzen.
However, just as the duo began to cut loose, Silva top-edged a wide bouncing delivery from Broad down to third man to leave the hosts 146-4 with 10 overs remaining.
The new Nottinghamshire man struck again 12 balls later when Sangakkara pulled straight to Bopara to end his 102-ball stand and Collingwood brought himself back on to remove Kaushal Lokuarachchi plumb lbw for nine.
Dilshan and Mubarak racked up a stand of 23 off three overs, before the former was bowled by Anderson, and Sidebottom wrapped up the tail to keep England's noses in front.
Chasing under lights has proved troublesome throughout this series, but a typical top-order burst from Phil Mustard suggested the pitch was better than the Sri Lankan batsmen had made it look.
The Durham keeper once again failed to capitalise on a good start, driving four boundaries before dollying a return catch to Lasith Malinga, but Cook and Ian Bell rotated the strike nicely to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Cook top-scored with 80 to see England to an historic series victory
Bell was left cursing his choice of shot in the 20th over when he lobbed Lokuarachchi to mid-on, but after that England cruised.
Pietersen, averaging just nine on this tour before his innings, looked determined to make a score and he and Cook refused to take chances on a slow pitch.
It made for turgid viewing at times, and a short rain delay slowed the outfield even more to ensure it barely got better in the latter stages.
However, there was no denying England's application and Cook and Pietersen did what had to be done in taking the tourists to within 50 runs of victory with 11 overs remaining.
Cook had already brought up his half century by that stage - off 76 balls - and Pietersen greeted the 40th over with a welcome display of aggression, smashing the first six of the match down the ground to bring up his own 50.
He eventually registered four more boundaries with typically wristy shots in a stand of 110 with Cook, and ended unbeaten on 63 for a welcome return to form.
Even after the Essex man played on off Dilhara Fernando and was followed immediately back in the hutch by Collingwood lbw first ball, the tourists looked untroubled.
There was still time for Owais Shah to be bowled by Malinga, but Pietersen and Ravi Bopara saw England to 212-5 to secure the historic victory and send the visiting dressing room into raptures.