Lanka show fight to stay in lord's Test
LONDON, May 13, Although the odds would still favour England, Sri
Lanka at least showed fight to remain in the contest after being asked
to follow-on, ending the third day on 183 for three wickets in the first
cricket Test played at Lord's here today.
Carrying the fight to the Englishman was Kumar Sangakkara and Upul
Tharanga who hit a fifty apiece before being dismissed. At stumps
captain Mahela Jayawardene who made 61 in the first innings was unbeaten
on 35 with nightwatchman Farveez Maharoof (5).
Sri Lanka are not yet out of the woods. They still trail England by
176 runs to make them bat again and there remains two days in the Test.
Sri Lanka made 192 in the first innings in reply to England's 551-6.
Today the Lankan batting showed much discipline and England's bowlers
were made to alter their line of attack for success. They managed to
extract three batsmen in the second innings Jehan Mubarak for six when
he played on to Hoggard, Tharanga for 52 (7 fours) and Sangakkara for 65
(6 fours), both falling to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. The wicket of
Sangakkara closer to stumps was a big blow for Sri Lanka for he had
batted so solidly for the 225 minutes he was at the wicket and provided
a sense of security to the innings as long as he was out there.
Tharanga and Sangakkara added 109 for the second wicket after the
early loss of Mubarak at 10. The manner in which Sangakkara batted today
proved beyond doubt that he would have to seriously consider batting at
no. 3 if he has been on the field for a lengthy period of time.
Sangakkara's failure in the first innings when he was dismissed for 21
after keeping wickets during the England innings for five sessions could
easily be put down to mental tiredness. His dismissal when he and his
captain Jayawardene were batting so well triggered a collapse that saw
four wickets crash for four runs in 21 balls.
Today he came out to bat fresh and one could see the marked
difference in his batting. It is something the team management will have
to seriously consider if they want to get the best out of him as a
Much focus has been laid on Sri Lanka's poor batting performances
without paying much attention to how good the opposition's bowling is.
England bowlers excel
On the same pitch that England plundered their highest total against
Sri Lanka - 551-6, it became a totally different ball game when the
England fast bowlers took the ball into their hands.
The amount of sharp swing and movement they extracted out of it only
went to show that Sri Lanka's bowling was nowhere near their class.
Apart from Muralitharan's spin the three seamers were so ordinary and
lacked in pace they hardly aroused any doubts in the batsmen's mind. So
laying the blame totally on the Lankan batsmen is unfair. Even if Sri
Lanka had won the toss and batted first one cannot think of them raking
up a big total.
The England fast bowlers are masters in their own conditions and the
Duke ball they use for the home Tests retain the shine for a longer
period than the Kookaburra used by other countries including Sri Lanka
which makes it swing for a longer period of time.
Vaas' lack of success in English conditions is baffling. He did not
bowl well at all in the England first innings.
Coming back to Test cricket after a six-month lay-off from rest and
then a side strain has had its effects on his 32-year-old body. But that
apart his lack of success in England for a bowler who has beautiful
control of swing and seam could only be attributed to his lack of pace
which has reduced over the years that the batsmen have ample time to
make a judgement on whether to play or leave it.
Maharoof and Kulasekera also lacked in pace to hurry the English
batsmen into committing a false stroke.
Lankans each ability
One of the main faults with Sri Lankan bowlers is that they lack the
ability to bowl six balls in one spot. Unless they get that right they
are bound to concede a lot of runs as they did in the England innings.
The England bowlers on the other hand, were quick, sharp and accurate
giving nothing away, committing the batsmen to play at each and every
delivery which gave them a better chance of getting a wicket. The Sri
Lankan batsmen not renowned for their patience fell easy pray.
Another shortcoming of the batsmen was the lack of feet movement to
encounter the swing, which left them easy victims for an outside edge to
the eagerly awaiting slips cordon.
The only batsman to display patience and application was the captain
Mahela Jayawardene who batted for 168 minutes to top score with 61
inclusive of nine fours. Sri Lanka did well from their hopeless position
overnight of 91-6 to add a further 101 runs for their last four wickets
through useful contributions from Maharoof (22), Vaas (31) and
Thanks to the efforts of the tail Sri Lanka was able to avoid being
dismissed for their lowest ever score in England - 162.
Hoggard who began the Sri Lankan collapse in the second afternoon
with two early wickets finished as the best England bowler with four
wickets, which included his 200th in Test cricket. It made him the tenth
England bowler to get to that mark and Maharoof whom he caught and
bowled was his victim.
Ranatunga objects to Sanath's recall The arrival of opener Sanath
Jayasuriya from retirement in England today to reinforce the team has
not met with the approval of his former captain Arjuna Ranatunga. He
told the 'Daily Express': If I was still the captain and I had heard
they had brought a player out of retirement I would have gone home."
ENGLAND 1ST INNINGS
(K. Pieterson 158, M Trescothick 106, A Cook 89,
P Collingwood 57; M Muralitharan 3-158)
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS (overnight: 91-6)
J. Mubarak lbw b Hoggard 0
U. Tharanga lbw b Hoggard 10
K. Sangakkara c Trescothick b Mahmood 21
M. Jayawardene c Jones b Flintoff 61
T. Samaraweera lbw b Mahmood 0
T. Dilshan run out 0
C. Kapugedera lbw b Mahmood 0
F. Maharoof c and b Hoggard 22
C. Vaas c Trescothick b Hoggard 31
N. Kulasekara c Strauss b Flintoff 29
M. Muralitharan not out 0
Extras (lb8, nb10) 18
TOTAL (all out, 55.3 overs, 268 mins) 192
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0, 2-21, 3-81, 4-81, 5-85,
6-85, 7-129, 8-131, 9-192, 10-192.
BOWLING: Hoggard 14-4-27-4 (2nb), Flintoff 17.3-2-55-2 (3nb),
Plunkett 11-0-52-0 (5nb), Mahmood 13-2-50-3.
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS
J. Mubarak b Hoggard 6
U. Tharanga c Jones b Panesar 52
K. Sangakkara c Jones b Panesar 65
M. Jayawardene not out 35
F. Maharoof not out 5
Extras (b9, lb8, w2, nb1) 20
TOTAL (3 wkts, 64 overs, 264 mins) 183
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-10, 2-119, 3-178.
TO BAT: T. Samaraweera, T. Dilshan, C. Kapugedera,
C. Vaas, N. Kulasekara, M. Muralitharan.
BOWLING: Hoggard 13-4-26-1, Flintoff 14-2-41-0,
Mahmood 10-1-35-0 (1w), Plunkett 7-2-28-0,
Collingwood 5-1-10-0 (1nb, 1w), Panesar 15-5-26-2.